Housing costs outpace wage growth in Dayton area, reducing affordability

While the Dayton region ranks among the nation’s most affordable markets, local home and rent prices are growing far faster than wages, making it increasingly difficult for some area residents to find an affordable place to live, a Dayton Daily News investigation found.

Average rent in most Dayton suburbs is up over last year, according to data from Rent.com, an apartment search engine and online marketplace. Rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Fairborn last week was $1,145, up 25%. Rent for a one-bedroom is up 10% and 9% in Beavercreek and Kettering, respectively.

Meanwhile, median home prices were up 8.9% last year to $201,286 in the region including Montgomery, Greene, Darke, Warren and Preble counties, according to data provided by Dayton Realtors. Average prices are up 9.2%.

Wages have not kept up. Average weekly private-sector earnings in the Dayton Metro Area increased to $1,034 by December, a 1.9% increase, which is just $19 more weekly compared to $1,015 a week in December 2021, according to data released last month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Kanada Pope, of Trotwood, wants to move to Huber Heights, but said rent for a two-bed, one-and-a-half bath townhome in Huber increased from $700 in 2019 to $1,100 in 2022, a 57% increase.

“You have to make three times the rent,” Pope said in response to an online survey by the Dayton Daily News. “The salaries and wages in the area haven’t increased. I now work three jobs, because one job making $20 an hour isn’t enough to live on and try to save up for my own home.”

Rental prices

Some areas are seeing rent prices fall. The average rent for a studio apartment in the city of Dayton was $700 last week, a 15% decrease compared to a year prior, according to data from Rent.com. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Dayton is $804, a 20% decrease, and the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $980, a 3% increase.

This reduction follows increases last year in the city of up 20% for a studio apartment and 12% for a one-bedroom.

“Rents are cooling and there is more availability compared to this time last year,” said Jennifer Illanz, president of the Greater Dayton Apartment Association’s Board of Directors. “Some providers are also offering concessions to attract new residents.”

The COVID-19 pandemic unleashed a tremendous surge in demand for housing at a time when supply was already dwindling, she said. That led to rent increases that are now falling.

Rents could tick up slightly this year due to rising interest rates and continued inflation pressures on the market, Illanz said.

The most expensive area cities for rent are Beavercreek and Miamisburg. Average rent for a one-bedroom in Miamisburg is about $1,399, and for a two-bedroom in Beavercreek is $1,429.

Still, for low-income and middle-income residents seeking affordable, quality workforce housing, the Greater Dayton area continues to offer quality affordable and attainable housing, Illanz said.

“Average rents are lower in the community when compared to other large Ohio metropolitan areas and the national average,” she said.


Adam Blake, vice president of housing for CountyCorp, a housing solutions nonprofit that serves middle- and low-income residents, said that rent data for a 2-bedroom apartment in Dayton would mean a renter paying about $14,000 a year including both rent and utilities.

Blake said that would mean a household would need to make around $50,000 a year to afford that or they would be housing cost burdened.

“This is one of the major issues with housing affordability in Dayton,” he said. “Service workers don’t usually make that much money. This is one of many reasons we have households in Dayton that are housing cost burdened — their housing costs exceed 30% of their income.”

The median household income in Dayton is about $37,536, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data.

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John Parker, of Dayton, told the Dayton Daily News he has lived in communities from coast to coast and that Dayton is “definitely more affordable.” However, with rental prices increasing, especially in the burgeoning downtown area, it is looking less affordable.

Parker said one of the challenges is that “renters are forever at the mercy of landlords.”

“So when landlords raise their rent by a percent that outweighs my yearly raise, it is alarming and instills hopelessness, and of course, anger,” he said. “Quality is also lacking, with paper-thin walls and cheap amenities. It is no secret that landlords want to cut as many corners as possible to maximize their profit, even at the expense of renters.”

Recent market studies show apartment complexes in Dayton with a 96% to 100% occupancy rate, according to CountyCorp. Blake said that means it is very difficult to find available rental properties in Dayton.

“We need to bring more affordable rental units online as soon as possible to give renters more choice and availability of affordable housing,” he said. “Market forces continue to drive rents up based on the lack of available rentals.”

Home prices

The median sales price for a home in the Dayton area went from $184,813 in 2021 to $201,286 in 2022, an 8.9% increase, according to data from Dayton Realtors. The average sales price for a home went from $217,954 in 2021 to $237,927 in 2022, an 9.2% increase.

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Steve Naas, of Clay Twp., said he believes the Dayton area is better off and more affordable now than several years ago compared to the Columbus, Cincinnati or Indianapolis areas because prices in those communities “have gone crazy.”

However, the Dayton area, to remain affordable, needs to see an increase of housing constructed at all levels: affordable rentals, mid-range rentals, luxury rentals; and homes for sale at multiple price points, Naas said.

“We don’t have enough housing at any level, except for obsolete housing that’s difficult to get renovated for a cost effective manner,” he said. “Because we don’t have enough supply of housing units, the prices have gone way up, so we need to have some correction.”

Dayton has been, and continues to be, in the top tier of the most affordable housing markets in the country, said Greg Blatt, president of Dayton Realtors and the director of and broker at Keller Williams Advisors’ KW Commercial.

The median home sale price in Columbus, the highest priced housing market in Ohio, was $280,000 at the end of January, Blatt said. This is still below the national median home sale price of $350,000, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.

Housing affordability, like everything else in the economy, is driven by supply and demand, Blatt said.

“Right now, our available housing inventory sits at an approximate 1.6 month supply of homes,” Blatt said. “There’s increased demand for housing as new jobs are locating into the area. This is a result of the great work that Dayton Development Coalition and JobsOhio have done to attract companies that have committed to locating to our area.”

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Blatt said a normal market inventory supply of homes is approximately three months.

The rapid rise of interest rates from historic lows of 2.5% to 3% have had a slowing effect on the velocity of sales year over year, Blatt said. In other words, the number of homes selling now is down 29.2% from the same period last year, he said. That’s due in part to the interest rate increase and the lack of inventory.

“Nationally and locally, we have very low inventories,” he said. “The likely way to increase inventories at this point would be to build new housing.”

Legislative proposal

Ohio House Bill 3, recently introduced by state Rep. Gail Pavliga, R-Portage County, seeks to incentivize more housing development by authorizing a workforce and affordable housing tax credit for certain housing to address the needs of the state’s workforce, veterans and seniors across the state.

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“Ohio is in the midst of a severe shortage of affordable housing for working families, veterans on a fixed income, and seniors,” Pavliga said during February testimony to the Ohio House Economic And Workforce Development Committee.

“In 2020, only three of the 10 most common jobs in Ohio paid an hourly rate necessary for a worker to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment,” she said. “Due to the shortage of affordable housing, nearly 400,000 households in Ohio face a severe cost burden, spending over half their income on rent.”

State Rep. Willis Blackshear Jr., D-Dayton, sits on the House committee Pavliga testified before and said it “seems like common-sense legislation.”

In response to a question from Blackshear, Pavliga said the bill currently only addresses rentals but “at some point we are hoping to add single family dwellings.”

Governor’s proposal

According to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, Ohio needs 250,000 more affordable housing units across the state right now.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine earlier this year included a proposal in the state’s budget to spend $100 million each of the next four years on tax credits for affordable multifamily housing and an additional $50 million a year on building affordable single-family homes.

According to OHFA spokeswoman Penny Martin, the items in the governor’s Executive Budget — the state housing tax credit and the single-family development tax credit — would provide OHFA/state of Ohio with additional resources to fund the development and preservation of rental units and the creation of new single-family housing stock across the state.

Those initiatives will help address the shortage of available affordable housing across the state, said Martin.

Should the initiatives pass in the state budget, OHFA would be responsible for administering the programs, Martin said. It would create program guidelines based on the legislation to effectively award the tax credits each year.

“We anticipate that over the four years, the tax credits will create nearly 5,000 new rental units and approximately 6,000 single-family homes,” she said.


The most affordable neighborhoods in the city of Dayton are Philadelphia Woods, where the average 1-bedroom apartment rent goes for $465, North Riverdale, where renters pay $575 on average for a 1-bedroom apartment, and Eastern Hills, where the average 1-bedroom apartment rent goes for $625. Other deals can be found in Belmont ($631 for a 1-bedroom apartment) or Five Oaks ($675 for a 1-bedroom apartment), compared to the $804 average for a Dayton 1-bedroom apartment.

The most expensive neighborhoods in Dayton are Webster Station, where the average 1-bedroom apartment rent goes for $1,376, Oregon, where renters pay $1,259 on average for a 1-bedroom apartment, and Downtown, where the average 1-bedroom apartment rent goes for $1,252. Other premium neighborhoods include Shroyer Park ($795 for a 1-bedroom apartment) or Wesleyan Hill ($790 for a 1-bedroom apartment).

The most popular neighborhoods in Dayton are Grafton Hill, where the average 1-bedroom apartment rent goes for $699, Downtown, where renters pay $1,252 on average for a 1-bedroom apartment, and Five Oaks, where the average 1-bedroom apartment rent goes for $675.

SOURCE: Rent.com

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