Can housing supply accommodate growth, equity?
That is intensifying the demand for more new housing, including these apartment buildings being built by Columbus-based Avenue Partners on West 73rd Street in the Battery Park area.
Whether they’re statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor or employment listings at one of the world’s largest jobs Web sites, the data for Greater Cleveland is looking rosy again, for the first time since the global pandemic began in early 2020. Indeed, the number of paychecks being created in this Great Lakes metropolis is exceeding those being created in traditional Sun Belt economic powerhouses like Austin, Charlotte, Orlando and San Diego.
There are nearly 80,000 jobs available in Greater Cleveland listed during Thanksgiving week at the global employment listings web site Indeed. Only Chicago, Minneapolis and Detroit have more available jobs in the Midwest-Great Lakes “Rust Belt” region, yet those metro areas have nearly two to five times more people.
Available jobs in Midwest/Rust Belt metro areas:
- Chicago – 169,009 available jobs
- Minneapolis – 109,268
- Detroit – 85,072
- Cleveland – 79,028
- St. Louis – 67,158
- Indianapolis – 64,514
- Cincinnati – 64,027
- Columbus – 59,366
- Pittsburgh – 56,708
- Milwaukee – 47,862
- Louisville – 39,808
- Buffalo – 26,909
- Grand Rapids – 26,538
- Toledo – 17,178
Available jobs in select U.S. metro areas:
- New York City – 268,184 available jobs
- Los Angeles – 198,797
- Dallas – 170,363
- Washington DC – 170,181
- Boston – 146,389
- Philadelphia – 140,983
- Atlanta – 132,263
- Phoenix – 127,824
- Houston – 119,337
- San Francisco – 98,139
- Seattle – 92,704
- Miami – 90,005
- Baltimore – 81,226
- Cleveland – 79,028
- Tampa – 78,772
- Charlotte – 74,611
- Austin – 71,952
- Orlando – 68,312
- San Diego – 57,795
- San Antonio – 49,098
Although only those jobs listed on Indeed are shown in the above numbers, Indeed is a huge database and thus offers a significant sample size. The larger the sample size, the more accurate the data.
An available job is a vacuum. Nature abhors a vacuum and will seek to fill it with a worker. Filling that many available jobs will likely cause population growth absent the region’s ability to retain its older and poorer people. Such trends, if they continue, will have some interesting implications for Greater Cleveland’s economy, housing market and equity issues going forward.
“(Greater Cleveland’s) overall population has been slowly declining over the past nine years, however, it’s experiencing an increase in its millennial population who are moving to the area because it’s affordable and there are jobs,” said Kathy Fettke of the Real Wealth Network.
That anecdotal information is supported by data which shows older and poorer people with families are moving out of the City of Cleveland and the rest of Cuyahoga County. They are being replaced by young professionals, many without children, seeking affordable housing and jobs. Cleveland’s income tax revenues have been growing strongly since the mid-2010s despite a brief, pandemic-induced drop in 2020.
So while the city of Cleveland’s population dropped 6 percent in 2020 vs 2010, it has more occupied housing units than in 2010. Cuyahoga County saw its 18-and-older population — aka the adult working population — grow 2 percent from 989,534 people in 2010 to 1,008,892 people in 2020. Yet, total population in the county fell 1.2 percent from 1,280,122 to 1,264,817.
“The link between the popularity of cities and economic growth has been severed,” urban planning consultant Pete Saunders wrote for Bloomberg News in a syndicated opinion piece. “Some of the most vibrant metropolises in the U.S. are actually shedding people. Most surprisingly, a handful of Rust Belt metros — Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, among others — outpaced the average per capita GDP gains yet actually lost population.”
Moving to Cleveland from ‘superstar’ cities has saved new arrivals an average of nearly $200,000 in the value of their housing, a Zillow analysis from June shows. That’s one result of the Great Reshuffling that’s allowing people to get more bang for their buck by working remotely in amenity-laden cities like Cleveland.
The replacement of poorer and older Greater Clevelanders with younger professionals is a story line that is likely to continue for years to come without the availability of more public funding to boost the construction of affordable, quality housing.
“Demand for housing in Cleveland is high and inventory is low, with the average home price up over 15 percent year-over-year,” wrote Jeff Rohde for Roofstock. “Cleveland.com reports that buyers need to act quickly, with some homes getting scooped up within a day of hitting the market.”
Fettke considered Greater Cleveland to be one of only 18 metro areas in the U.S. that she would recommend investing in rental housing.
“I’ve found that the best cities to invest in have three factors in common: job growth, population growth and affordability,” she said. “When you find a market that has all three, you’ll probably be able to find good investment opportunities for both cash flow and appreciation.”
Cleveland Mayor-elect Justin Bibb has pledged to boost affordable housing in Cleveland as a development strategy that recognizes the needs of each neighborhood. During the campaign, he promised to revisit outdated incentives, encourage homeownership and support the homeless population with services and pathways to secure housing.
The new federal infrastructure law has $10 billion for an affordable housing access program to be overseen jointly by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Transit Administration, as well as $4 billion to repair communities divided by past transportation projects and to help prevent gentrification and displacement of residents.
Read more at NEO-trans.blog