Cincinnati-Dayton Merger Could be Boon for Home Prices

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Cincinnati, OhioThe 2010 census may re-classify Cincinnati-Dayton - another tangle of commercial sprawl grown together - as one urban area. Following in the steps of Minneapolis-St.Paul and Dallas-Ft.Worth, Cincinnati-Dayton could function as one cohesive area. Should the area ready itself for increased economic opportunities and prestige?

Aside from debate over what to call the urban merger ("C-D"? "Cinton"? "Daynati"?), it's likely that Interstate 75 would effectively act as its "Main Street." The new classification would combine 19 Cincinnati-Dayton area counties into a combined population of 3 million. It would make Cincinnati-Dayton the 15th highest population center in the country. Currently, Cincinnati-Middleton ranks as 24th and Dayton ranks as 61st most populous.

The hyphenate reclassification could raise the economic profile of southwestern Ohio. This, of course, would also have some spillover consequences for local real estate...
For starters, it would mean that C-D would be among only four metro areas with two top-100 commercial airports. Access to international air travel makes an area even more attractive to business investment. According to "cluster theory," each new business becomes more valuable to the next in terms of recruiting and retaining talent, particularly in higher-paying, more specialized fields.

More businesses and economic opportunities, in turn, drive even greater population growth. Population has already tripled in the area since the 1990s. Growing population, plus economic opportunities, typically push home values and commercial leases higher. That could be a boon for existing home owners and commercial owners.

So which Cincinnati-Dayton real estate areas might grow even hotter? Look toward continued reinvestment in downtown and adjacent areas. Anticipate sections along Interstate 75 to move to define themselves and market themselves as viable neighborhoods the way Oakley, DeSales Corner, and Gateway Corner are re-inventing themselves.

There may also be pressures to expand public transit to more easily connect the geographically, far-flung corners of C-D as car traffic, and its associated costs and hassles, increase. Homes near to public transit such as Metro-Sorta (Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority) may see significant increases.

Who knows? Perhaps Cincinnati will even eventually decide to re-open its forgotten, buried subway, too.
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