Akron/Canton Landlords: What areas would you NOT rent in

25 Replies | Akron, Ohio

Hello all! 

I am originally from the Akron/Canton area, looking to start investing in the market around the cities, however I wanted to hear from current landlords about areas they choose to avoid. Though I grew up here, I feel that my knowledge of which zip codes and streets are prime real estate which should be avoided is limited. I know the general wealth and crime rates of most areas in both Akron and Canton, but I don't know what makes them good or bad from a rental perspective. 

Where do you all think the best places to rent are? Do you have any no-go areas? Any neighborhoods you jump in any opportunity you get? If anyone would have some insights and be willing to share, I would hugely appreciate it!

Thank you very much, @James Galla. What are your thoughts on East Akron? It is sandwiched between South Akron and Middlebury, but it is closer to the University than Goodyear Heights, however I don't know if the surrounding area issues bleed into the neighborhood.

@Paige Laliberte what do you mean when you say between Middlebury and South Akron but closer to the university? Providing a nearby cross street would be helpful. If you're looking at Arlington or Case I would stay away unless you can very actively manage it.

Akron can vary greatly street by street but in general for people who live away finding a deal in Ellet would be good, Goodyear heights and some of Firestone park should be OK too mostly.

I would stay far away from Laird St and any of the roads that connect to it. Also stay away from lover's lane, Cole ave, Copley Rd.

I avoid Summit Lake, west akron south of Delia, the North Hawkins area (Zahn, Treeside, Cromwell, by firestone HS-- rest is ok); South Akron North of Archwood. All of East Akron (especially by joy park homes). Most of Middlebury; I do own 8 units right on E Exchange in Middlebury (on the outskirts of student housing and right on E exchange street) but it's a tough neighborhood C- at best, probably D+, one block North or South is solidly D. I like Chapel Hill, Goodyear Heights-- the north part is better, Ellet, Firestone Park (south is best), and Highland square (though it's usually too expensive). I would buy **deals** in North Hill, Forest Hill parts of Kenmore. I might buy in the one East Akron area south of Triplett if I found a screaming deal.

@Aurora Cooper If you want to do student housing there is a ton of it for sale. The big companies came in and build university edge, the depot. I think it's kind of overbuilt enrollment at the universisty has been declining for a few years now. The best student housing is west of brown and north of wheeler right by the university. Students don't live in east Akron; it's the heart of the 'hood. I met a guy at a meet up that owned a bunch over there last year. Early in the year he'd already done 9 evictions. He's still making good money though; had some good stories. I wouldn't want to try to have a management company there. If you are out of town don't buy in the (east akron) area south of i76, east of i77, west of kelly, north of triplett. I have a tenant right now that is paying me instead of living in an almost free apartment in Joy park homes. 

Updated over 2 years ago

Should have been @paige (OP)

@Jill F. I have several friends who live in Highland Square and I do agree about the price. The area is probably one of the nicer ones in Akron, but the cost is a little high for someone getting started.

Do you believe that the upsides of the Highland Square might make it a better investment in the long run? Though I could probably get two homes in Firestone for what I would pay for one in HS, do you find the benefits of the neighborhood outweigh the potential of two cash flow streams?

@Jill F. Replying to you again because I just saw your second comment. Thank you so much for the detailed information!

I haven’t lived in the Akron area since UA expanded the student housing on their campus. Do you feel that this expansion has started to dry up the demand for off campus university housing?

From what I have been reading, it does seem like it would be a better idea for me to focus less on UA centered areas and more on Firestone, Goodyear, and Highland Square. I know the university has been declining in the last five or ten years and they seem to keep cutting more and more majors. I suppose that doesn’t bode well for a student rental market.

Originally posted by @Paige Laliberte :

@Jill F. I have several friends who live in Highland Square and I do agree about the price. The area is probably one of the nicer ones in Akron, but the cost is a little high for someone getting started.

Do you believe that the upsides of the Highland Square might make it a better investment in the long run? Though I could probably get two homes in Firestone for what I would pay for one in HS, do you find the benefits of the neighborhood outweigh the potential of two cash flow streams?

I don't know ... We are older and have been buying for mostly for cash flow to llive on; if we get appreciation I'm just extra happy-- we're just trying to find places that we think will at least hold value-- hence my long list of areas we avoid. Parts of Akron went basically to zero value in the last recession and still haven't recovered. I'd say 20% of the lots in excelsior heights (off roselawn) right behind my Middlebury properties are vacant lots where the city had to tear down the houses and there's still a bunch more board ups (probably used as meth houses) back there. Sad.

But the good news is nicely renovated properties in Akron are few and far between and they rent *FAST.* Even in my Middlebury properties, 7 of my 8 tenants will have been there 22 months or more; and the last time I had a vacancy last October, I had the unit rented before the former tenant even finished moving out her furniture.

If you are out of town, just starting out and can't scale quickly, likely or at least possible appreciation offers some financial protection. I'd probably spend as much as I could to get in the best neighborhoods I could. Highland is more hip. Firestone is more suburb. Try to stay north in Highland or south in Firestone. Maybe look at Cuyahoga Falls, Monroe Falls, or even Norton or some of the more rural areas like Seville or Creston. I'd buy in the nicest area I could afford where I could get the best cash flowing deal.

@Jill F. Thank you so much for the great advice. You have given me and my fiance a lot to think about. I do remember how poorly renovated many of the houses my friends in the area lived in during their college years (ie bedrooms split with curtains and shoddily built basement bathrooms), so that is something I am aiming to improve on. 

Nice quality rentals that are well done is my definite aim; I am glad to hear you are having such success with them!
 

There still seems to be deals to be had in the Canton area, but I would avoid anything near downtown.  The north side still has decent neighborhoods above 30th st, even down as far as 20th st.  There's always North Canton as well where rents are higher but so are prices.

Found all the advice on area very helpful my dear Investors.  Looking at area and economy of Canton, Akron, Lordstown, Columbus.  This is fun!

Just spent 6 days in Ohio researching and meeting with property mgrs and agents.  Could be just me but didn't find anything worth while in Akron or Canton that were close to viable investments over  Cinnanati, Columbus, Eastern  Ohio like Girard, Youngstown, Boardman.  Akron Highland Square was nice but quite isolated within 10 square blocks with retail/shopping/groceries that doesn't look like it would sustain majority of the middle class.  It was positive for city living but from a pretty run down property that I could see people through the walls from the curb for $25K at 11AM (fully rented) was located 6 blocks from a nice $300K duplex can't be helpful.  I allocated a day in Arkon & a day in Canton, but running along my listed of properties to view & neighborhoods to see, after 3 hours in each city and seeing weak investments and less desirable areas, I cancelled my hotel reservations in both cities and made my way to Columbus.  Recommend non-experts to check out the more active, cleaner, more life in the other bigger and smaller cities.  Sorry locals, that market is for you since you have more time to dig through the possibilities. Thank you group for your suggestions to see...saw it and confirmed for myself.  

Originally posted by @Stan Wu :

Just spent 6 days in Ohio researching and meeting with property mgrs and agents.  Could be just me but didn't find anything worth while in Akron or Canton that were close to viable investments over  Cinnanati, Columbus, Eastern  Ohio like Girard, Youngstown, Boardman.  Akron Highland Square was nice but quite isolated within 10 square blocks with retail/shopping/groceries that doesn't look like it would sustain majority of the middle class.  It was positive for city living but from a pretty run down property that I could see people through the walls from the curb for $25K at 11AM (fully rented) was located 6 blocks from a nice $300K duplex can't be helpful.  I allocated a day in Arkon & a day in Canton, but running along my listed of properties to view & neighborhoods to see, after 3 hours in each city and seeing weak investments and less desirable areas, I cancelled my hotel reservations in both cities and made my way to Columbus.  Recommend non-experts to check out the more active, cleaner, more life in the other bigger and smaller cities.  Sorry locals, that market is for you since you have more time to dig through the possibilities. Thank you group for your suggestions to see...saw it and confirmed for myself.  

 Columbus is awesome! I am almost at 30 doors here. What areas did you like the most?

Canton has negative population growth, as do alot of major cities around OH. Columbus seems to be one of the rare ones that has a major influx in population. Im sure this is due to businesses' choosing Columbus as headquarters, not to mention all of the breweries popping up keeping their employees happy!

All, Great thread, I am looking to buy in 44319 zip code, intersection of E waterloo Rd. and S Main St. Can you please advise if this area is good? I am from Columbus and this would be my first in Akron. I would also like to know what is a good price for a 1BR/1B unit, 35, 40, 45?

Originally posted by @Stan Wu :

Just spent 6 days in Ohio researching and meeting with property mgrs and agents.  Could be just me but didn't find anything worth while in Akron or Canton that were close to viable investments over  Cinnanati, Columbus, Eastern  Ohio like Girard, Youngstown, Boardman.  Akron Highland Square was nice but quite isolated within 10 square blocks with retail/shopping/groceries that doesn't look like it would sustain majority of the middle class.  It was positive for city living but from a pretty run down property that I could see people through the walls from the curb for $25K at 11AM (fully rented) was located 6 blocks from a nice $300K duplex can't be helpful.  I allocated a day in Arkon & a day in Canton, but running along my listed of properties to view & neighborhoods to see, after 3 hours in each city and seeing weak investments and less desirable areas, I cancelled my hotel reservations in both cities and made my way to Columbus.  Recommend non-experts to check out the more active, cleaner, more life in the other bigger and smaller cities.  Sorry locals, that market is for you since you have more time to dig through the possibilities. Thank you group for your suggestions to see...saw it and confirmed for myself.  

Hi Stan,

My name is Marge and my partner and I are just starting our Boardman, OH REI journey. I was searching the forums for posts from people in the area and stumbled upon yours. That was from 8 months ago. Curious if you pursued Boardman and how your REI journey evolved there.

Thanks!

Smiles,

Marge

Yes. It's been fair.  I like the area very much but true performance is what needs to be measured and it's fair for the state of economy.  Do you have investments now, have you checked Sacremento, Fresno, Bakersfield?  Whatcha looking at?

Originally posted by @Stan Wu :

Yes. It's been fair.  I like the area very much but true performance is what needs to be measured and it's fair for the state of economy.  Do you have investments now, have you checked Sacremento, Fresno, Bakersfield?  Whatcha looking at?

Prices are crazy in and around the bay area. Looking at Boarman, OH and surrounding areas like Austintown and Warren. Maybe even Canton or Akron.

All - I am in the Canton & Akron areas of Ohio. Our local REIA (non-profit) is holding our monthly free zoom call this Saturday to engage local vendors & investors with out of state investors. I'll post a link to the meeting in the appropriate thread. Feel free to message me concerning it!

I personally have a number of Akron properties I'm selling and can provide more information if you're interested!