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Cleveland suburbs shift from majority homeowners to majority renters, study says

Posted at 5:00 AM, Oct 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-08 19:12:37-04

BEDFORD HEIGHTS, Ohio — A new study shows some Cleveland suburbs are seeing an increase in renters, to the point where the majority of residents are renters instead of homeowners.

The report comes from Yardi Matrix and RENTCafe, a nationwide apartment search website, and explains how Bedford Heights and Euclid are the latest communities to flip from a majority of homeowners to a majority of renters over the last ten years.

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An excerpt from the report highlights the impact in Northeast Ohio.

Doug Ressler serves as manager of business intelligence at Yardi Matrix.

“Things are changing,” he explained. “In the urban cores and with service workers is that we see the urban core folks looking at housing solutions that are based on a median income, somewhere less than $60,000 a year.”

Bedford Heights and Euclid join East Cleveland and Warrensville Heights as the latest communities to cross more than 50% renters, according to the report. It comes at a time where home sales continue to increase in certain communities, and Ressler points out that some of those sales, called adaptive reuse, can lead to more rentals.

“Some people would in the past have called it a niche of a niche,” Ressler said. “But we're seeing it has come to the fore. In other words, if you look at it from a business standpoint, if I can take an unused building or an empty building that already exists, I can bring it to market a lot faster.”

The report also highlights how renters grew in suburban areas nationwide by 22% between 2010 and 2019, while suburban homeowners only grew by 3% during that same time period.

“It’s all there from a data driven impartial standpoint for leaders to consider what types of policies they want to do to impact their residents in the most opportunistic manner,” Ressler added.

Despite being at the top of the list, Bedford Heights leaders tell News 5 this new data does not highlight a change in the city’s identity, rather confirmation of what already exists for the population of about 11,000.

Councilman Alton Tinker chairs the Community Development Committee.

“We have about 2,600 apartment units versus 2,700 residential units,” he explained.

Tinker said the city’s focus remains on repurposing its aging industry within the city.

“Most of our buildings are old, not up to par, so we have to repurpose these buildings,” he said. “That's our biggest focus right now, to keep our industrial base very healthy to keep taxes down.”

The RENTCafe report goes on to suggest four other suburbs - Lakewood, Mayfield Heights, Bedford and Maple Heights could cross that 50% renter majority in the next few years.