New Study Affirms VineBrook is Helping Provide Safe, Affordable Housing Across Greater Cincinnati
Homeownership has increased in neighborhoods where VineBrook invested, and its presence provides millions of dollars to local businesses and creates jobs for workers
DAYTON, Ohio, Jan. 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- A study released today provides new data and perspective detailing the impact of investment by VineBrook Homes (VineBrook) on neighborhoods and the economy in Greater Cincinnati. The study, by HR&A Advisors, Inc. (HR&A), affirms VineBrook’s role as a critical provider of single-family rental homes that are priced lower than average rents across Cincinnati, helping meet growing demand for safe, affordable rental housing for individuals and families. VineBrook commissioned the study to help inform conversations about the role and impact of institutional investor activity in local housing markets. HR&A has been a trusted advisory partner for government and non-governmental entities in Cincinnati for over a decade.
“This study illustrates the positive benefits VineBrook’s long-term investment has on Cincinnati’s neighborhoods and economy,” said Dana Sprong, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of VineBrook Homes. “The facts presented here cut through the noise of critics and commentators who use assertions and vague generalities to attack companies like ours that are helping meet growing demand for rental homes in markets like Hamilton County, Ohio. We are proud of the hard work and commitment our local team dedicates to providing safe, affordable rental housing for residents and the positive impact our investment makes across Cincinnati.”
“VineBrook is not driving the rapid rise in rents or the declining homeownership rate in Hamilton County,” said Phillip Kash, Partner at HR&A. “VineBrook’s average rent is below those charged for single-family homes in the county and VineBrook’s rent increases have also been far lower than other rental homes in the Cincinnati metro area.
“Hamilton County is facing growing housing affordability issues, but VineBrook is not a driver of this shift,” added Kash. “Over the last decade, insufficient new housing has constrained the available inventory and resulted in higher home prices while high mortgage denial rates have been a barrier to first-time homebuyers, particularly so for households of color.”
Below are key findings from HR&A’s VineBrook Homes Impact Study. The full study can be found here.
VineBrook Rents are Lower than Cincinnati Market Average
HR&A’s analysis found VineBrook rental homes are consistently more affordable than the average rental property in Cincinnati’s metropolitan statistical area (MSA) when measured over the last seven years. Specifically:
- Cincinnati MSA single-family rents are an average of $330 higher than VineBrook rents
- Since the start of COVID-19, the average MSA single-family rent increased by $283, whereas VineBrook rent increased by only $165
- From 2021 to 2022 year-to date, VineBrook rents have increased 6.6% compared to a 17.3% increase Cincinnati MSA-wide
Rent is often one of the largest expenditures for an individual or family. The study found the average VineBrook resident spends 26% of their income on housing costs, lower than the 30 percent threshold that typically designates housing as affordable.
VineBrook Invests in – and Maintains – its Properties at a High Level of Quality
With a median age of 65 years, housing stock in Hamilton County is among the oldest in the US. Older homes often do not meet requirements for mortgage loans, so investors like VineBrook that can afford necessary repairs and upgrades deliver critical demand for houses that might otherwise go unpurchased.
Once VineBrook acquires a home, it invests an average of $27,000 to renovate a property. This amount can sometimes exceed $50,000 for properties acquired at risk of abandonment, which converts often blighted properties into decent and affordable rental units for Cincinnati families. The report details some of the investments VineBrook has made in rehabilitating and maintaining homes across greater Cincinnati, including:
- $28.7 million total expenditure on rehabilitation, repairs, maintenance, and property taxes from 2010 to 2022 year-to-date
Homeownership Rose in VineBrook Tracts but Portfolio too Small to Impact Cincinnati Market
“Our study found that the narrative that VineBrook is squeezing first-time homeowners out of the market is not supported by the data,” said Phillip Kash. “VineBrook purchases represent a small fraction (less than 2%) of all single-family homes sold between 2016 and 2022, and the vast majority of these were already investor-owned. In fact, in areas where VineBrook focused its purchases, the homeownership rates actually increased compared to rest of the county where homeownership has decreased.”
HR&A’s study found VineBrook’s portfolio is less than 1% of Hamilton County’s housing stock, insufficient to shift the market’s homeownership rate.
The study also provides important detail about VineBrook’s purchases. Specifically, they:
- Represent a small fraction (1.7% from 2016-2022) of single-family home purchases in Hamilton County
- Are predominantly (75%) purchased from existing investor owners, which means the homes were not available to individual homeowners for purchase
- Were mostly (87%) resident-occupied by a lessee at the time of purchase, which represents a change in ownership but does not decrease housing stock available to homeowners for purchase
The study also found the homeownership rate has risen and outperformed the County in census tracts where VineBrook owns property. Specifically, between 2014-2019 HR&A found a 0.7% increase in homeownership in VineBrook tracts compared to a -1.1% decrease in Hamilton County overall.
HR&A further analyzed the barriers to homeownership in Hamilton County, which include:
- Insufficient new supply and low inventory are driving up home prices
- Higher prices have raised the income and down payment required to become a homeowner – and income is rising slower than home prices
- High mortgage denial rates are a significant barrier to first-time homebuyers
- Systemic racism in the mortgage origination process is a barrier for households of color
“Only a holistic approach can meaningfully improve Hamilton County’s housing market,” concluded Kash. “To address the housing affordability issues in the county, the County should focus on: 1) adjusting land use and development approval regulations to support the creation of new housing and reinvestment in existing housing; 2) scaling up and targeting subsidies to close the gap between what lower-income households can afford to pay for a home and the cost to develop and operate that home; and 3) establishing rights for tenants that balance the competing interests of tenants and property owners.”
VineBrook Contributes to Hamilton County by Creating Jobs and Investing in the Community
Cincinnati is home to the first house VineBrook purchased in 2008. Since that time, VineBrook has rehabilitated 1,742 previously vacant homes, bringing them back into the housing market and helping to stabilize local neighborhoods.
VineBrook has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the Cincinnati market, investing more than $400 million to date. VineBrook’s long-term presence and ongoing property maintenance have a positive impact, resulting in a 125% increase in median property values in neighborhoods where it invests compared to a 75% increase in Greater Cincinnati from 2015-2022.
VineBrook’s positive contribution to the local economy extends beyond its role in stabilizing neighborhoods. Contrary to generic assertions that institutional investors are “out-of-town landlords,” the study details how VineBrook began its operations in Cincinnati and continues to grow its local team with 115 positions currently filled or open for hiring. VineBrook pays $6.5 million annually in wages to local employees and has supported 413 trusted local businesses and partners with over $25 million spent since 2008.
Finally, the report also details local non-profits and charitable organizations, including The Children’s Home and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati, receiving support from VineBrook and its employees through the years as the company deepens its civic engagement in the region.
HR&A Advisors, Inc. (HR&A) helps create more equitable, resilient, and dynamic communities. Our work turns vision into action through rigorous analysis, strategy development, and implementation planning. We have provided strategic advisory services for some of the most complex mixed-use, neighborhood, downtown, campus and regional development projects across North America and abroad for over forty years. We have worked in Cincinnati for more than a decade, supporting the City in advancing its policy goals and driving equitable development. We recommended a bold strategy to revitalize Cincinnati’s Downtown, and worked with corporate, civic, and governmental leaders to establish the Center City Development Corporation (3CDC), which has so successfully led the transformation of Fountain Square and Over-the-Rhine. More recently, we supported the City of Cincinnati in redesigning its Residential Tax Abatement (RTA) Program to foster more equitable outcomes and better align with regional economic development goals.
VineBrook Homes is an internally managed real estate company specializing in acquiring, renovating and leasing single family homes. Unlike other providers, VineBrook takes a different approach in the growing Single Family Rental Home industry, focusing on affordability and value for our residents. Since our commencement in 2007, we have quickly become one of the largest providers of quality homes with a variety of housing options offered.
Our highly trained and experienced staff is dedicated to providing the best experience to current and future residents, while being a good citizen in our communities. Our core values of hard work, integrity, communication and execution have helped build a recognized brand known for quality and long-term resident satisfaction.
We are proud to provide the many benefits of single-family home living in great neighborhoods, with ample space, storage, yards, privacy, security, and professional management at a reasonable price. Most importantly, our success in the single-family rental home business would be nothing if it weren’t for our fantastic residents, and we work every day to provide the best service possible to meet their needs. For more information, please visit www.VineBrookHomes.com.
Unboxed Communications for VineBrook
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