Pretty skyline night view of Cincinnati atop Roebling suspension bridge.

Ohio has a well-established reputation as a hub for business and innovation. It's not by chance that the Buckeye state was the place of birth of some of the world's most significant inventions, from the electric light bulb to the airplane.

Ohio's success story doesn't just live in the past, but is a reality reflected in the state's thriving economy, which is the 7th largest in the US by GDP output and the 21st largest at global level.

Most parts of the state are a short two-hour flight away from major US and Canadian cities, including New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Toronto, therefore offering local businesses exposure to a large customer base.

Further contributing to its appeal are various actions taken to foster a 'green economy', especially in the state's main urban centers. This focus on green initiatives and sustainability has facilitated the creation of new business opportunities in these areas and the state is becoming an industry leader in technology innovation and energy efficiency.

Ohio also boasts exemplary growth levels and a business-friendly tax system that is particularly attractive to small businesses. More recently, below-average unemployment rates and improved transportation links have helped improve the state's reputation as a great place to do business.

Key industries include:

Office Market In Ohio

Office Space in Columbus

Total office inventory exceeds 40 million square feet, with the largest sub-markets being the CBD and Northeast Columbus, which also happens to have the highest concentration of Class A offices.

Generally speaking, office market trends in Columbus have remained unchanged during the past five years. Some of the most important trends to note include:

Average vacancy rates for Class A product are under 14% and 20% for Class B offices. There has been a slight decline in asking rates, which currently average $19 / psf for Class A offices and $16 for Class B. The priciest locations remain unchanged: Short North, Warehouse District, Pen West, and Arena District.

Office Space in Cleveland

Of the approximately 40 million square feet this market contains, more than half is Class B space. The most prominent recent trends in this market are:

Cleveland is generally considered a tenant-favorable market due to availability levels and moderate rental rates. Looking at the specifics, vacancy rates average 14% in metro Cleveland, and are higher in central / urban locations.

Asking rents are rather stable at $20 / psf for all asset classes, only approaching the high $20s in west and northeast suburbs.

Office Space in Cincinnati

Half the of total office inventory in Cincinnati consists of Class A space, which is most abundant in the CBD, Blue Ash, Montgomery, and Mason. Half the of total office inventory in Cincinnati consists of Class A space

During the past few years, the ongoing conversion of CBD Class B space into other uses has left some tenants with very limited choices. This prompted an exodus towards the suburbs that continues to this day, especially eastern and western Cincinnati suburbs.

Vacancy rates remain below 2009 levels, stabilizing at averages of 21%.

Average asking rents are $24 / psf for Class A space and $17 for Class B properties. Prime space in Midtown and the CBD sees rates in the high $20s, as does the suburban area of Kenwood.

Retail Market in Ohio

Columbus has a very active retail market, partly thanks to the presence of high-end retailers. In 2022, retail property investment reached all-time highs. The best-performing retail assets are grocery stores and shops located in their immediate vicinity.

In Cleveland, the retail market maintains its fundamentals afloat thanks to demand generated by big box stores, grocery, home improvement and discount stores. Vacancy rates average 4%, and rents are increasing to $11 / sq ft (NNN).

Cincinnati retail has also remained strong, yet rising construction costs are more of a challenge here than in other Ohio areas, which makes the market landlord-favorable.

Industrial Market in Ohio

Ohio is a major manufacturing hub with specializations like automotive, metal, and rubber, as well as a strategic location and access to integrated transportation infrastructure, which translates into ongoing demand for suitable industrial space.

Strong appetite for industrial assets in Columbus has driven vacancy rates to record lows just above 2%, and rents have increased quarter by quarter to nearly $5/psf, reaching higher averages in Delaware County and northwest Columbus.

Cleveland also displays record-high performance, with vacancies around 4% marking a historical low and rents growing to a 20-year high at $5 / psf. The market is set to expand to accommodate growing demand with new developments in southern Cleveland.

Cincinnati is an extremely active industrial market where new supply is absorbed immediately upon delivery. Vacancy rates are below 2% and asking rates exceed $5 / psf, being likely to increase due to supply constraints.

Tax Breaks and Incentives

For further information, visit the Jobs Ohio website.