PROS and CONS of Living In Livonia Michigan - Livonia, Michigan. Maybe you’re planning a visit, thinking about calling this city home or you're simply following along here because you're bored. Whatever the reason may be, do yourself a favor and stick around to hear about the good, bad and ugly about Livonia Michigan and how it’s changed over the years, along with reviews from REAL residents. Let’s get to it.
This blog is a direct transcript from the video below. This comes in 3 versions: You are able to watch the video, read the blog for your convenience or listen to the audio experience (which is linked under the video below).
Kicking this off with the pros for living in Livonia Michigan, we have number one, the location. I know this pro could be obvious just from an aerial view on a map, but this point plays a role in a con I'll mention a little later. This perfect square that we call the city of Livonia is conveniently placed over I-275 and I-96, so not only are you just a few miles from the wonderful cities of Novi, Northville, Plymouth and Farmington, you also have an extremely convenient commute to get to the onramps for these expressways. You're also roughly 25 miles from downtown Ann Arbor, and 20 miles from downtown Detroit, which is a huge plus, as a lot of the cities I have touched on in the past tend to have a commute to downtown Detroit nearly twice that distance. When most people plan on making the move to southeast Michigan, unless it’s for work, they do it very strategically to take advantage of an easy commute to downtown Detroit and have the luxury of heading over to Ann Arbor, not just for the university of Michigan football games, but for the award winning healthcare system, which is a huge pro to keep in mind.
Stepping over to pro number two, the schools. Livonia central was recognized with a school safety award this year, Hayes elementary school earned the Michigan green school award, they have college savings programs for students, earned the AdvancED accreditation, which means they have brought over 100 years of experience in improving educational quality, and have a graduation rate of just over 92% across the district. There are around 24 schools from preschool to high school In Livonia with several diverse programs catered to all students along with a career technical center.
Moving over to pro #3, we have a recreational center. Easily the best one in Metro Detroit and has truly become the face of Livonia, the Jack E. Kirksey Livonia community rec center has so many different offerings from fitness and wellness classes, personal training and massage therapy, to a climbing wall with 13 climbing stations, aquatics, and leisure programs that include ballet, ballroom dancing, karate and nerf fights. This place has something to do for all people, it’s not just about lifting weights, and with this being such a huge attraction in Livonia, safety is always the number one priority. As of September 2022, they did away with the typical gym membership tag and implemented a finger scanner that converts the image into a numeric value to help fight against fraud and unwanted visitors. I’ll put a link in the description to their website so you can see upcoming events and changes being made along with everything they offer.
Last but not least, we have pro #4, the city events. If there’s one thing Livonia knows how to do, it’s throw a party. Not only is there the luxury of attending all the events put on by the rec center, there’s several events that happen weekly at the Greenmead Historical park, dog park, senior centers, summer camps at camp swoosh, along with farm stands, garden parties and seasonal walks and runs, that happen throughout the year, and the biggest event that I can’t forgot, Livonia’s birthday. Known as the Livonia spree, it’s an event that happens each year to celebrate the anniversary of the city for a whole entire week. It’s full of food, entertainment, music, a gigantic family carnival, and of course a massive firework show to put a ribbon on a week of fun.
With that in mind, it brings us to the cons of living in Livonia Michigan, starting off with number one, the traffic. With the Livonia spree in mind, you can guarantee the city is pretty shut down for that week in late June, so be sure to familiarize yourself with other routes in the area, because you can almost guarantee it’s going to be gridlocked over there. There’s already over 95,000 people that live in the city of Livonia, but tack on several thousand more from out of the area to experience this once a year event, and you got yourself a madhouse. Of course, several cities around Metro Detroit have large events that shut down their city streets, but this event is much larger than most to say the least. Not only does the Livonia spree bring people in from out of the area, so does the laurel park place, a one story mall off six mile road in Livonia with around 75 stores and restaurants. Granted, the traffic to this attraction isn’t as bad as it used to be as this mall has had several ups and downs over the years and has recently in 2020 filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy to restructure their $1.5 billion debt, as several stores within have closed their doors due to online competitors and lack of staff.
Livonia also has one of those locations right off the expressway, similar to Novi, where it’s like a “pass through” town for lack of a better term, where many drivers are passing through the city to get to where they’re going and it oftentimes clogs most of the roadways especially during rush hour.
Stepping over to con #2, which has to be the biggest complaint from residents aside from the traffic, the downtown area (or like thereof). Livonia has nothing of a downtown, but they are so primely located to be near several cities that not only have great downtown areas, like Northville, but shopping opportunities at twelve oaks Mall in Novi. When I say there’s no downtown area, that in no way means the city doesn’t have the amenities every city needs and more from restaurants offerings, entertainment, shops, etc. They have all that, but it’s not close knit in a walkable downtown setting that most people prefer. On the plus side, the city of Livonia came out with the Livonia vision 21 master plan last year that targets three areas of the town to attempt to create that city feel Livonia is so desperately missing, which will be near civic center park off of five mile road, the old Livonia mall at seven mile road, and the Plymouth road corridor. Their vision is to combine housing, retail, restaurants and public services such as a park or library. The biggest hurdle for the city council now is consolidating the city’s zoning districts so they can make this development project easier and allow more neighborhood hubs to be built.
They want to cater these new massive development plans to the wants and needs of the residents who have been living in the city for decades. The goal is a more bikeable and walkable community but in order to do that they need to create these multi-use pieces of property to bring all their visions to life, so we will see how all this shakes out, it’s still very early in the process of course. I’ll be sure to link their vision 21 plan in the description, so you can get an idea of everything going into this master plan.
Moving over to con #3, is neglect. This is something that was prioritized when speaking about the vision 21 plan, because residents have continuously complained the city was just overall neglected, from uneven roads and sidewalk, to home’s exterior presentation and trash, it’s a recurring theme that keeps being brought up and is slowly being dealt with. It’s by no means an unbearable sight, but it’s been brought up enough to be a noticeable thing. Of course the city is known to have great trash and leaf pick up, along with great police presence to keep the community safe, but residents would like for there to be a little more attention spent on fixing roads, sidewalks, picking up trash, and just maintaining the city to keep it more presentable. I don’t think it’s too much of the residents to ask, as it wasn’t always in this state of neglect, maybe their future developments have taken some more priority. Who knows. A lot of residents find themselves wondering how Livonia can be the way it is while being surrounded by a bunch of wonderful cities. So there’s that sense of comparison that creates this “neglected” mentality.
Last but not least, we have the home prices. Talking about Livonia home prices is actually an interesting topic, because when I got into this industry over 5 years ago, Livonia was the spot for affordable homes, it was the place for first time homebuyers, empty nesters looking to downsize, and just all around the palace where you could get a nice home for a good price, but after the years went on, the city of Livonia slowly disappeared out of these lower budgeted buyers home searches, as the prices continued to climb drastically. Keep in mind, the lower budget I’m referring to is between $120 and $175,000. Taking a look at this graph provided by the multiple listing service, you can see the 5 year progression of Livonia’s average home prices. In 2017, the average home price was right around $179K, whereas in 2022, the average home price sits just over $270,000, which is an 8% increase year over year, but to be fair, Livonia does follow a very similar progression to the entire Michigan MLS as a whole (in blue), as they are very much overlapping and side by side over the last 5 years.
I remember homebuyers being so frustrated over the years that they couldn’t afford something in Livonia, because the location was so nice and close to everything, compared to most cities with a lower price point like that. People caught on and realized the city offered a great luxury with its central location to everything at what was once an affordable price.
That puts a bow on the pros and cons of living in Livonia, but before we part ways, I want to share some good and bad resident reviews for Livonia to give you some insider perspective about the city. Starting off with the not so good ones, this reviewer talks about how the city is overrun with big box stores that are causing congestion, and how there aren’t a lot of local businesses, but on the plus side, they did say they could get everything they needed between Meijer and target.
This next reviewer talks about the cleanliness and safeness of the town, but states how boring the city is and how the police force isn’t the best, and how there is no downtown area and the most fun you could have is going bowling or wandering around target. Then in all caps says Livonia is where culture goes to die. There’s a few things to unpack here, the police presence has gotten better over the years, the boringness and lack of downtown is being worked on in the vision 21 plan, and I can’t quite say this is where a culture goes to die. There of course trying to create a sense of community in the city, maybe it has lacked over the years due to comparison to other cities as I mentioned earlier.
Moving over to the better reviews. This reviewer says Livonia is the best suburb in southeast Michigan, and states the several offerings the city has, along with it being a safe suburb with a great police department. This review was left in 2021, while the bad ones were left in 2015, so you can see they have bettered their efforts at listening to the community. Last but not least, this next reviewer chats about their positive move from Dearborn to Livonia to get a change of scenery and the numerous surrounding cities that they have had the luxury of a short commute to along with the many food options and overall cleanliness of the city.
For those of you that live or have lived in Livonia, what are your thoughts for the people on the outside looking in? Comment your experiences below!
MENTIONED LINKS 🔗
→Livonia Recreation Center: https://bit.ly/3Tya4j7
→Livonia Vision 21 Plan: https://bit.ly/3VDUbtk
Andrew McManamon is a Michigan REALTOR® with Signature Sotheby’s International Realty and provides real estate services to Buyers, Sellers and Investors throughout SE Michigan including Livingston County, Oakland County, Washtenaw County, Genesee County & beyond. Andrew has become one of the rising stars of Michigan real estate agents. Prior to his real estate career Andrew was responsible for managing a senior living facility in Brighton, Michigan as a dining supervisor and an activities assistant. Andrew’s passion to help people is unlike any other, and he continues to strive to be best resource he can be. Andrew graduated from Cleary University in Howell, Michigan with a double major and currently resides in White Lake, Michigan.