Evaluating the Ohio Land Market

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Evaluating the Ohio Land Market

Bart Waldon

Nicknamed the Buckeye State, Ohio covers over 44,000 square miles of America's Midwest. About 12 million people call Ohio home, with most living in bustling metros like Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Toledo. Once a heavyweight for industry and manufacturing, Ohio's economy has reshaped itself over the years. These days healthcare, education, finance, aerospace, tech, farming, and some manufacturing form the backbone of the state. Between the economic changes and population shifts, Ohio's land market has seen its fair share of ups and downs recently. Whether you're looking to buy or sell property in Ohio, it pays to understand what's impacting real estate values and sales numbers right now.

Factors Influencing Ohio's Land Market

A handful of big trends are moving the needle on supply and demand across Ohio's residential, commercial, and farm land areas.

Population Patterns

Ohio's total headcount hasn't changed much in the last 10 years. But take a closer look and you'll see some subtle shifts happening. Urban growth is surging in Columbus and other big cities, while rural areas see people moving out. Young professionals tend to flock to metro hotspots for jobs, nightlife, and amenities. At the same time, Ohio's aging population affects housing too. As senior downsize or transition into assisted living, their existing homes flood inventory. More supply without equal demand causes prices to drop. Yet senior and assisted living complexes see upticks in interest for new development projects.

Ohio's Economy

The 2008 recession was a tough punch for Ohio to roll with. Unemployment shot above 10% as the state struggled to regain lost jobs. But in recent years, things turned around. Job growth bounced back and unemployment dropped to around 4% pre-pandemic. Still, COVID brought a new round of economic uncertainty. Ohio's diverse business landscape provided some insulation. But consumer spending and activity still took hits. Looking to 2023, cautious optimism sticks around. Inflation worries linger but demand is rising again for commercial and residential spaces.

Building Boom

Both government and private investors keep pouring money into huge infrastructure and development projects statewide. On the transportation side, there's the $2 billion Brent Spence Bridge replacement and $2 billion Cleveland Innerbelt modernization underway. Massive undertakings like these shape local property values and spark related development. Public-private partnerships also drive new construction, like the $140 million Scioto Peninsula transforming downtown Columbus. New housing subdivisions, retail complexes, and industrial parks keep popping up too, growing supply.

Rules and Regulations

Laws governing land use and zoning sculpt Ohio's property landscape as well. For instance, in 2004 the state passed new limits on eminent domain powers after a Supreme Court ruling expanded government authority. Some attempts have tried dialing back those restrictions since, but strong public opposition holds firm. Environmental regulations like the Clean Water Act also constrain development around sensitive watersheds. Locally, changing municipal codes and zoning remake neighborhoods as new construction must follow updated standards.

Weather and Environment

Ohio's climate isn't extreme but it does impact land use. For agriculture, decent rainfall across the state supports crop production. Still, changing weather patterns bring challenges, especially when droughts, floods, or rough winters damage harvests. Some areas also have protected wetlands that can't be altered for development per federal law. Overall, Ohio's four seasons and moderate climate allow different land uses across varied terrain.

Pricing and Values of Ohio Land

Many factors influence how land is assessed and priced in Ohio, leading to notable regional disparities.

Land Type Differences

Valuation methods and value ranges differ significantly based on land use. Agricultural land is assessed for its soil quality, yield potential, and commodity crop prices. Average per-acre prices run from $4,000-8,000. Residential plots consider location, zoning, improvements and market sales of comparable parcels. Metro backyard lot prices can top $100,000 while rural multi-acre sites run $20,000-60,000. Commercial and industrial land values hinge on development potential and access. Prices range widely, from $50,000/acre in smaller communities to over $1 million/acre in downtown Columbus.


County auditors appraise each Ohio property every six years, estimating market value based on recent nearby sales. These assessments factor into taxation. However, assessed value does not always align perfectly with true market value or appraised value. Property owners can contest assessments if they find evidence like comparable proving lower worth. Assessments also lag changes in property values.

Regional Variations

Land values vary considerably depending on Ohio location. Areas with growing populations, vibrant economies, and available land for new construction see values rise. Regions with declining industry and populations often experience property depreciation. Farmland values remain more consistent statewide but can change based on climate impacts on yields. Waterfront locations also command premium prices for both residential and commercial uses.

Value Trends

Over the past decade, Ohio experienced steady but modest appreciation in property values. Average home prices rose about 3% annually from 2010-2019 before the pandemic stalled growth. However, the market rebounded with over 10% gains in 2021-2022. Limited supply amid high demand from millennials and remote workers fueled bidding wars in cities. Apartment and warehouse space also tightened. Meanwhile, rising interest rates and recession fears cloud the short-term outlook.

Buying and Selling Land in Ohio

In most cases, real estate transactions in Ohio follow traditional processes with some unique aspects.

Sale Process

Selling property starts with pricing, marketing and listing the land, often with a licensed real estate agent. For commercial and industrial sites, owners may also directly pitch to potential buyers. Prospective purchasers will research listings, consult local records and make offers contingent on due diligence inspections. Attorneys then negotiate final terms and paperwork. At closing, the deed transfers and funds exchange after the seller pays any closing costs. Title companies usually manage documentation and logistics.

Due Diligence

Before finalizing any Ohio land purchase, buyers should complete inspections and research. This includes:

  • Title search to confirm ownership and identify any encumbrances
  • Land surveys marking exact boundaries and features
  • Environmental tests checking for contamination
  • Zoning and permit reviews to identify restrictions
  • Mineral rights checks to see if rights transfer with surface title

Real Estate Professionals

While for-sale-by-owner deals occur, most Ohio land transactions involve key professionals including:

  • Real estate agents to market and facilitate deals
  • Appraisers establishing property valuations
  • Attorneys handling closing paperwork and negotiations
  • Title company agents processing closing documentation
  • Lenders financing deals through mortgages and loans

Buyer Financing

Cash purchases are common but many Ohio property buyers utilize financing. Typical mortgage loans require 20% down payments. Commercial financing often demands 25-30% buyer equity. Loans for raw land can be harder to obtain and may have higher rates or fees. Seller financing does occur but adds complexity around liability risks.

Marketing and Negotiations

Sellers should tap multiple listing services, digital ads, signs, flyers and local outreach. Flexible pricing and creative terms can help land move faster. Buyers should counter unfavorable inspection results or inflated assessments during negotiations. Concessions like closing cost contributions and buyer incentives make deals. Local title and real estate attorneys help craft win-win solutions.

Future Ohio Land Market Outlook

While always cyclical, Ohio’s real estate outlook remains generally positive looking ahead. Here are a few key trends and projections.

  • Ohio should see continued population growth in metro hubs, driving housing construction.
  • Economic diversity provides stability and promising sectors like tech should expand.
  • Planned infrastructure upgrades will increase land values in targeted regions.
  • Farmland will remain reasonably priced but see gradual appreciation.
  • Environmental regulations and public opposition will contain eminent domain.
  • Interest rates, inflation and recession risks create some uncertainty short-term.

Final Words

Ohio provides diverse land investment opportunities ranging from rural farms to urban developments. While regional differences and changing economic conditions impact values, Ohio's overall outlook remains stable with room for continued growth. By understanding trends shaping supply and demand, buyers and sellers can make informed decisions and tap helpful professionals to smoothly transact property deals across the Buckeye State.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the main factors that impact land values in Ohio?

Some of the key factors that influence pricing for Ohio land include location, zoning and permitted use, access to infrastructure and transportation hubs, nearby amenities and economic health, environmental constraints, supply and demand dynamics in the local market, and assessed valuations. Land values tend to be higher in growing urban centers while rural areas see more modest prices.

How can I determine the fair market value of a property in Ohio?

Conducting due diligence like having an appraisal done, reviewing the assessed tax value, researching recent comparable sales, and consulting real estate professionals will help provide an accurate estimate of current market value. For unique or large commercial/industrial parcels, owners often directly pitch to potential buyers to gauge interest and negotiate based on use potential.

What professionals are involved in buying and selling land deals in Ohio?

Key real estate professionals who facilitate land deals in Ohio include real estate agents to market and coordinate sales, attorneys to handle negotiations and closing paperwork, title company agents who process title transfers, appraisers who assess values, surveyors who map boundaries, and lenders who finance deals through loans and mortgages. Environmental and zoning consultants also provide due diligence insights.

What financing options exist for land buyers in Ohio?

Most buyers take out traditional mortgage loans that require 20% down payments. Commercial financing often expects 25-30% buyer equity. For raw land, financing can be trickier to obtain. Seller financing occurs occasionally but adds liability risks. All-cash purchases are common among individual and institutional investors in Ohio's property market.

What is the outlook for the Ohio land market over the next 5-10 years?

The overall outlook is for steady but modest appreciation, driven by population growth in major metros and economic diversity providing stability. Interest rates, construction costs, and recession risks do cloud the short-term forecast. However, planned infrastructure upgrades and continued demand for housing should support land values over the next 5-10 years.

About The Author

Bart Waldon

Bart, co-founder of Land Boss with wife Dallas Waldon, boasts over half a decade in real estate. With 100+ successful land transactions nationwide, his expertise and hands-on approach solidify Land Boss as a leading player in land investment.


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