Oberlin has a stable, well-educated population and the majority of its homes are owner-occupied, but its housing stock is aging.
Those are some of the findings of an ongoing housing study by Cleveland State University’s Center for Planning and Community Development, which is being paid $22,566 to write the report.
It is designed to help Oberlin attract and retain residents, and is due in December.
About 10 members of the Oberlin Housing Study Steering Committee met Aug. 4 with two center representatives. It was the second meeting for committee members who first met May 19.
Kirby Date, community planning and development program manager, emphasized the study is only a tool for Oberlin leaders in making housing decisions.
“We’re not making policy decisions here,” she said. “We’re just collecting appropriate data.”
Crunching numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau and Lorain County auditor’s office, the center found that at $52,632, Oberlin’s median household income was about the same as the rest of Lorain County and about eight percent higher than the Ohio median of $48,849 in 2014.
About 58 percent of homes were owner-occupied between 2010-2014 compared to nearly 72 percent in the rest of the county and nearly 67 percent in Ohio.
Most homes, about 45 percent, are between 1,200-square-feet and 2,000-square feet and many are old. The study found about 35 percent were built before 1939 and nearly 31 percent between 1960 and 1979. About six percent are vacant.
Most homes, about 22 percent, are worth between $100,000 and $125,000 with nearly 19 percent between $125,000 and $150,000. About 12 percent are worth between $200,000 and $250,000.
Most homes are in good condition. The study cited a 2013 survey by the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, which graded 93 percent of Oberlin’s nearly 1,900 homes in excellent or good condition.
The completed study will include a review of the building code, examine how to increase use of renewable energy, improve building maintenance, and encourage alternative and inter-generational housing. Comparisons will also be made with comparably-sized college towns.
The study will also review foreclosures and building trends and center officials plan to talk with people who work in Oberlin about why they live in the city or choose to live elsewhere.
An open house will be held next month to garner more community input. The date and location haven’t been set.
Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @GoodenowNews on Twitter.
Evan Goodenow | Oberlin News-Tribune The Oberlin Housing Study Steering Committee met Aug. 4 to discuss aspects of its report, due in December.