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Buy Where the Locals Do in Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

Nobody knows how to find value in a city better than a local. This is even more true for homes: Locals are keenly aware of how to make their home-buying dollars stretch farthest. We investigated the search trends of people living in one city, Columbus, Ohio, where the rapid rate of growth is causing a housing crunch. Trulia data showed us where locals are doing the bulk of their searches for homes in the city and in the greater Columbus metro area: Worthington and Grandview Heights. To find out why these neighborhoods top the list, we talked to the people living there to share their perspectives. See the neighborhoods come to life with locals’ street-level views from Instagram.

Worthington, Columbus, Ohio

Median house price: $242,750 | Median monthly rent: $925

The most-searched neighborhood within Columbus, Worthington feels more like 19th-century New England than the heart of the Midwest, according to the folks that live there. Just ten miles from downtown, Worthington’s prim New England exterior is brimming with modern character. “A lot of people also are steering away from cookie-cutter homes,” says realtor Karen Smith of Keller Williams. “They want the history of this place and are willing to give up square footage for it.” As a result, inventory is tight. “When something hits the market,” says Smith, “You may be competing against 20 other buyers.”

Columbus, Ohio


“People want in,” Smith says. “It might be in outer city limits, but it’s not a typical suburb.” Resident Annina Parini agrees. “We were lucky to buy when we did. We couldn’t afford the house on the street we’re on if we had to buy it today.” Parini and her family lived in Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill before moving to Columbus more than a decade ago. They first landed in Grandview Heights but then settled in Worthington seven years ago. “We’re walkers,” Parini says of herself and her husband. Worthington fits their needs, allowing them to walk to work, the library, the market and to the schools.

Spending Saturday morning enjoying this perfect weather! ☀️

A post shared by chelsea lauren (@chelsealauren) on Aug 26, 2017 at 10:33am PDT

“The Saturday farmers’ market is the first look many future residents have of Worthington,” says Parini. It’s the largest one in Central Ohio, with produce from surrounding farmlands sold alongside delicacies like enormous pecan rolls from BAK. It’s an ideal place to start dreaming of real estate in this hamlet 20 minutes north of Columbus. It doesn’t stop with a great farmer’s market. There’s a bike shop that doubles as a coffee joint. And a picturesque Federal brick building with dark hardwood floors specializing in Midwest comfort food including Ohio-raised beef burgers.

“What it comes down to is a lifestyle,” says Parini. And that lifestyle would have been impossible on the East Coast. “My friends in D.C. spend hours in traffic…with careers, they need to hire nannies.” Because of Worthington, she could lean into work and spend time with her kids.

Columbus, Ohio

Learn more about neighborhood demographics, housing market trends, and school ratings in Worthington.

Grandview Heights, Columbus, Ohio 

Median house price: $380,000 | Median monthly rent: $1,375

Conventional wisdom dictates that when the inventory is tight, city buyers gravitate toward affordable neighborhoods. That’s not the case here. This inner-ring suburb (Grandview Heights is technically its own municipality) is the most-searched neighborhood in the greater Columbus metro area even though its median house price of $380,000 occupies the upper range of the local real estate market. What is it about 43212 that appeals to locals? Many point to the architectural style of the place, or what resident Taylor Starek describes as “quaint in a way that doesn’t feel outdated.” Columbus local Annie Arthur, says,”It’s a Craftsman-with-detached-garage type neighborhood.”


Columbus, Ohio


Grandview’s location, just three miles from downtown, tucked between two rivers and near downtown, brings in families who opt in for the schools as well as millennials like Taylor who appreciate the proximity to city action. Instead of waiting to get a table in frenetically paced arts district Short North, Grandview Heights locals can grab food without fear of running into massive crowds. “It has the character of urban life and the safety and familiarity of a neighborhood more removed,” Taylor says.

Grandview’s appeal to different ages—”vintage with a modern twist,” says Arthur—is another reason this inner-ring suburb has seen unprecedented growth in the past decade. The public swimming pool gives the nod to its 1930s roots by preserving historic red clay-tile roof. The 1920s-era Grandview Theater has 39 craft beers on tap along with a Midwestern comfort food menu, served during screenings. The neighborhood also has five breweries and a distillery named Watershed, which breathed life into an empty warehouse nearly a decade ago while adding an acclaimed restaurant this year. Millwork studio Re:work Furnishings opened this past spring in a warehouse nearby. Owners Alex and Lindsay Remley chose Grandview for its accessibility to downtown. “We also like it because our (three) kids can scooter around the studio, and we don’t have to worry about their safety. That was important,” Lindsay says. “The community is also very supportive of indie businesses.”

Grandview continues to expand with Grandview Yard, a LEED-certified development spanning 80 acres. Current tenants include the buzzy Munich-inspired Hofbrauhaus, a spa, a market, and apartments. More living space and office tenants are coming, including one that brings jobs with it. “That Nationwide Insurance is coming here is huge,” says Lindsay. “They’re moving from the suburbs of Columbus to Grandview.” Such a relocation signals grand growth for a neighborhood that, for now, still maintains a small-town appeal.

Columbus, Ohio

Learn more about neighborhood demographics, housing market trends, and school ratings in Grandview Heights.


METHODOLOGY: Trulia looked at the 100 largest U.S. metro areas and then identified the 25 ZIP codes within each metro area with the highest share of home searches by locals, relative to all searches. We then separated ZIP codes located within the larger metro area (often a suburb of the city center) and ZIP codes within the city limits. A local is defined as a person who lives in a metro area. We only looked at ZIP codes with at least 50,000 property visits on Trulia.