HGTV fanatics will likely recall the show Property Virgins, as well as its OG host Sandra Rinomato, who constantly told her newbie house hunters that they want to buy houses in “up and coming, not been and gone" locations.
Now, Cincinnati’s hottest neighborhood—Over-the-Rhine, of course—isn’t exactly “been and gone,” but it’s not exactly “up and coming” anymore, either. “Many people want to be in OTR, but have been priced out,” says Joe Moritz, a realtor with Comey & Shepherd. Knowing that, we wondered just where, then, should we be looking to buy right now for the best return on investment?
What follows are three areas Cincinnati realtors agree are on track to be the “next OTR,” as they offer the perfect mix of walkability, historic charm, and cool restaurants and shops—all things many buyers are looking for these days. And just so you’re really ahead of the curve, they threw in a few other neighborhoods to keep an eye on, too.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know all about “East Walnut Hills,” you’re probably thinking. But Moritz says there’s a ton of development happening around areas like Gilbert Avenue and East McMillian. Jeni Houser, an agent with Coldwell Banker, also points to the development happening along the MLK Interchange in the area. “That’s huge,” she says. “It’s going to be one big, green boulevard. They understand people really want walkability in their community.”
Connie Greene, an agent at Robinson Sotheby’s who was selected by Mayor John Cranley as a Cincinnati Real Estate Ambassador, points out that Walnut Hills has the backing of a neighborhood development plan, which has caused a “magnet response” from buyers in that market, at all price points.
Median home price: $175,000
“Northside is on fire right now,” says Moritz. “People love Northside because it's a very walkable community with historic charm.” A recent tax abatement that was put in place is also a draw, he adds. “Some of the people I’ve recently sold houses to, they’re getting a fully-gutted, renovated structure for $200-225,000,” he says. “And with the tax abatement, their annual taxes are like $800.”
It’s all a “strong accompaniment to the fun and quirky restaurants there,” says Greene.
Median home price: $150,000
Wait—isn’t this supposed to be a story about Cincinnati? Yes, but there’s no denying Covington’s pending revitalization. Moritz even considers it the Brooklyn to Cincinnati’s Manhattan. “I’d put it at the top of [the Tri-state's] hottest areas, especially north of [Covington's] 12th Street,” he says.
Houser is so convinced of its coming renaissance, she got her Kentucky real estate license. “It has everything OTR is giving folks,” she says. “They’re really trying to revitalize the parks, and big investors, nonprofits, private developers—they’re all looking over there.” Plus, as a data-driven agent, she says the numbers don’t lie. “I give buyers who want to live in OTR all the info on what they can get in Covington for the same price, and they are blown away,” she says.
Median home price: $102,000
KEEP ON YOUR RADAR
Follow the developers to places like East and West End, Pleasant Ridge, and parts of Mount Auburn. “From my perspective, our entire city is experiencing an amazing run of neighborhood growth and pride,” says Green. “It is energizing to observe neighborhoods, small and large, taking new pride in their communities.”
- - -
Ready to do a little house shopping? Check out the gallery above for some photos of these realtors’ favorite homes in the areas mentioned.