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Modern House


Relocating To Detroit Michigan ON A BUDGET?

There’s an influx of people relocating to Detroit Michigan mainly for work, but for others to make there Metro Detroit debut from another state, and I have been asked several times where the heck someone can purchase a home on a budget near but not in the city of Detroit, so here’s a few options I haven’t touched too much on that I think you’re going to like.

It’s old news that home prices have skyrocketed everywhere, and especially in Metro Detroit, people are looking at homes online thinking there is just no use in looking, and before you delete the home search apps, I want to shed a light on a few popping communities I don’t talk about much that gives you a nice and close proximity to the one and only Detroit. So without further ado let’s jump into this list of Metro Detroit communities to consider. Keep in mind they are not in any specific order, just 6 communities to consider when on a budget. Oh and stick around to the end I have a little gift for you.


sterling heights michigan

Starting off with number one on this list, we have sterling heights. For those of you that don’t know, Sterling Heights is located in Macomb county, and is a total of 36.72 square miles in size with a population of around 135,000, which equates to around 3,700 people per square mile, so this is a very dense suburban city outside Detroit as most tend to be the closer you get to downtown.

sterling heights michigan rankings

According to Sterling heights is ranked #2 best places to live in Macomb County, as well as #66 of 338 best suburbs for young professionals in Michigan, #79 of 338 most diverse suburbs in Michigan as well as #111 of 338 best suburbs to live in Michigan. Some of the rankings aren’t overly amazing, but they sit above average i’d say.

What is worth noting is a lot of people assume D rated crime, horrible public schools and even a horrible nightlife, but Sterling Heights has earned an A- overall which includes things like public schools, housing, crime, nightlife, diversity, jobs, cost of living and so much more. Macomb county is one of those untapped counties in Metro Detroit that has some affordable options without being too far away from what Metro Detroit offers, being 20 miles from downtown Detroit, 22 miles from Auburn Hills for shopping at Great Lakes crossing, 12 miles from Rochester to experience their downtown, as well as areas like Birmingham, Ferndale and Royal Oak being just 12-15 miles away too.

I brag about the city’s close proximity, but the city of Sterling Heights has bragging rights being home to “the golden corridor” a stretch of roadway between M-53 and I-94 designated as “golden” because of its enormous economic impact in Macomb County and Metro Detroit. The Golden Corridor is stretched all the way through Utica, Shelby Township, Sterling Heights, Clinton Township, Macomb Township and Mt. Clemens — and for those of you that didn’t know is home to world-class shopping, dining and retail as well as colleges, hospitals, a minor league baseball park, a major performing arts center and bustling industry. So it’s safe to say amenities are plentiful in a community where we are budget conscious.

sterling heights michigan home prices

Speaking of budget, taking a look at this graph provided by the MLS, it shows the average sale price in Sterling heights in green and the whole MLS in blue over the course of 3 years, and it seems it's one of the few communities that mirrors the MLS’s average so closely, being just a few thousand dollars more at $300,835 which was a 3.9% increase year over year. Based on what’s for sale right now there’s 73 homes and condos for sale ranging from a $89,900 condo off van Dyke road with 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 728 square feet, with a common storage locker and laundry, which has land contract terms which is nice in a tough market like this one to a $729,900 colonial that has 4 bedrooms, 3.1 bathrooms, 3,150 square feet with a 1500 square feet unfinished basement, with a 3 car garage, built in 2020 and situated on 0.33 acres. The average sale price would probably be less than what the graph shows, but you have communities like this in Lisa Marie Gardens, Spring Meadows, Hidden Estates, and Marco villas that are dishing out homes and condos for over $600,000 driving that average up. There’s a home on the market in Sterling Heights right now that is just under $250,000, it has 3 bedrooms, 1.1 bathrooms, 1.778 total square feet with a 2 car garage on 0.17 acres with a swimming pool and a finished basement, and that is just unheard of in today's housing market.


oak park michigan

#2 on the list is Oak Park. Oak Park is located in Oakland county and is just east of the desirable communities of Royal Oak and Ferndale. Oak Park is 5.15 square miles in size with a population of around 30,000 people, which equates to about 5,750 people per square mile, so again we are talking dense dense suburban living here.

oak park michigan rankings ranks Oak park #15 of 338 most diverse suburbs in Michigan, #34 of 804 most diverse places to live in Michigan, and #43 of 338 best suburbs for young professionals in Michigan. The location is nice being near Ferndale and Royal Oak as I mentioned, and just 15 miles away from downtown Detroit, so again, the commute is wonderful and the proximity to nearby communities is a plus as well. Oak Park isn’t jam packed with amenities as Sterling Heights is because you can only fit so much stuff in 5.15 square miles after jamming 30,000 people and their homes there too, but again, close close proximity to great downtowns, the zoo, and much more. There is The Oak Park shopping plaza, David H Shepard Park, as well as markets, and restaurants along nine mile road.

Oak Park has become the area people have moved to, to not only be close to Detroit but be outside Royal oak and Ferndale due to their rising home price tags. This becomes an affordable option where you can stretch your dollar further, BUT keep in mind property taxes are quite a bit here, so where you save money on the price tag you pay a little more on the property tax end, whereas some nearby communities have higher price tags and higher property tax rates. It’s just highly situational your budget, the house, and the school district you land in. I have several videos about property taxes I’ll link in the description for you too, it’s something you need to pay attention to because it will keep you up at night I promise. 

oak park michigan home prices

When it comes to talking about the budget, this graph again shows the average sale price over the last 3 years, with Oak Park in green and the entire MLS in blue. As you can see Oak Park falls much lower than the average at just over $215,000, which is a 2.8% increase year over year. Whereas Royal oak is an average of $380,000 and Ferndale is just over $268,000, just to give you that reference. As of recording this, Oak Park has 22 results ranging from a 75,000 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom condo with 900 square feet, with 2 assigned car spaces. This one is in need of a big renovation to the point they’ll only show 3 images then up to a $548,000 colonial with 6 bedrooms, 3.1 bathrooms, 2,791 square feet, with a finished basement, built in 1965 but remodeled in 2023, with a 2 car garage and situated on 0.14 acres. 


madison heights michigan

Moving along to number 3 on this list, we have Madison heights. Madison Heights is located in Oakland county and is on the west side of Royal Oak and Ferndale while Oak Park is on the east side of these communities. Madison Heights is 7.09 square miles inside with a population of around 30,000 people which equates to just over 4,000 people per square mile, which is another dense suburban feeling.

madison heights michigan rankings ranks Madison heights #13 of 338 best suburbs for young professionals, #35 of 804 best places for young professionals in Michigan, and #94 of 338 most diverse suburbs in Michigan. Again, this community similarly to Oak Park is relatively small, but it shares the same close proximity to great cities and townships like Oak Park. There is the Red Oaks golf course, red oaks nature center, civic park, Rosie's park, as well as some of those staple offerings along 12 mile road and John R road, such as Starbucks (of course), home depot, Lowe's bates, grills, gas stations, electronic stores, and more.


madison heights michigan home prices

When we factor in the affordability aspect, this graph indicates the average sale price over the last 3 years, with the entire MLS in blue again, and Madison heights in Green, which comes in at just over $206,000, which was a 2.5% increase year over year, so this city becomes another viable option to save some money while being in close proximity to desirable communities. That’s a $9,000 difference from Oak park on average (I would say that’s the cost of a car, but not these days), and the plus side is, the property taxes are much less than those of Oak Park too, while being able to be in the Royal Oak school district living in Madison heights if that’s a desire for you.

As of recording this there are 18 homes and condos for sale ranging from a $104,900 home with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 860 square feet on a crawl space, with no garage, and built in 1925, situated on 0.12 acres. This home has an FHA assumable mortgage too, which allows you to essentially take over the mortgage at the rate the owner had which would be 2-3%. Consult with a mortgage professional if this is a property of interest to see if this assumable mortgage scenario works for you. It’s another great opportunity in a market where mortgage rates are hindering affordability. Moving to the most expensive home listed right now, it’s $300,000 and has 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,310 finished square feet with a finished basement, built in 1955  with a 2 car garage and situated on .2 acres. This home resembles a lot in these areas, a 1200+ square foot ranch with that reddish orange brick and built in the 1950’s closer to the neighbors, tree lined street with sidewalks, tight driveways that lead back to a 2 car detached garage.


trenton michigan

Moving right on over to area number 4 and that’s Trenton. Trenton is located in Wayne county and is considered a downriver community being south of Detroit. I have sold a few properties for an out of state investor client of mine, and I couldn’t help but compare the amount of houses to the areas I have lived in and it’s mind blowing. This community is 7.55 square miles in size with a population of around 19,000 people and comes out to be roughly 2,555 people per square mile, which is more of a sparse suburban feel with that ratio, so if you need some more space to spread your legs, this community is one to consider on this list.

trenton michigan rankings

Trenton is rated #15 best places to live in Wayne county, #53 of 624 best places to retire in Michigan, #102 of 338 best suburbs to live in Michigan, and #106 of 338 suburbs with the lowest cost of living in Michigan. As far as amenities and things to do, Trenton is a Detroit riverfront community, so think parks, hiking, biking, kayaking, downtown shops. Dining options and near the only international wildlife refuge in north America with a connection to the downriver linked greenways.

trenton michigan home prices

When chatting about affordability, We have this graph again with the entire MLS in blue, and Trenton in green coming in at just over $216,000, with a 0% increase year over year. Trenton has fairly high property taxes, and is almost identical to Oak Park in that regard with the average price as well, so at that point it’s a geographic preference being near those communities I mentioned or being in more of a sparse area near the riverfront. As of recording this there are 26 homes and condos for sale, the cheapest being a $99,900 home with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1,271 square feet, with an unfinished basement, built in 1910 and situated on 0.09 acres and up to a $464,900 home with 4 bedrooms, 2.1 bathrooms, 2,407 square feet, unfinished basement, with a 2 car garage built in 2023, which is actually 11 or so of the 26 results I mentioned, so there’s a bunch of new development happening for sizeable homes. Granted $464,000 isn’t cheap, but for that same home in another community it could be 1.5 to 2x that price.


wyandotte michigan

Transitioning into area number 5 on this list we have Wyandotte. Wyandotte is another area where people can find a home on a budget. Wyandotte is located in Wayne county North of Trenton past the Riverview community and is a historic riverfront community, also it’s still considered a downriver community. Wyandotte is 6.98 square miles in size with a population of around 26,000 people which is equal to 4,697 people per square mile, so this is back to that dense suburban feel like a few of the other cities are too.

wyandotte michigan rankings

This area is ranked #20 best places to raise a family in Wayne county ranked #57 of 338 best suburbs for young professionals in Michigan, #102 of 804 bets places for young professionals in Michigan, and #110 suburbs with the lowest cost of living in Michigan. Wyandotte is one of those communities with an underrated downtown spot. I’ve been out there quite a few times, and restaurants, bars and entertainment tend to stay open fairly late compared to neighboring communities, and it’s only 10 miles from downtown Detroit. 

wyandotte michigan home prices

Not only is this city community-centric, with a nightlife, while being riverfront, it has an average sale price that’s much appreciated. Taking a look at this familiar graph, the entire MLS is in blue again and wyandotte is in green which displays a price of just over $192,000, a 5.5% increase year over year. You don’t see many communities on the outskirts of Detroit with an average sale price under $200,000 but this is one of them. As of recording this, there’s 26 results for homes and condos for sale. The cheapest one comes in at a whopping $64,900, which is a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom ½ duplex, with 832 square feet, an unfinished basement, with no garage, was built in 1943 and is situated on 0.09 acres. It needs a whole lot of TLC but within just 4 days this received multiple offers, makes sense for the price to say the least. Then we jump up to a $755,000 Victorian style home on the Detroit river that has 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 4,010 square, with no garage, built in 1904 and situated on 0.13 acres. Keep in mind, when talking property taxes, Wyandotte is in the same boat as Oak Park, and some of the other communities I compared too.


brownstown township michigan

Lastly we have area number 6 and that’s Brownstown township. In my opinion, this has to be one of the most underrated communities downriver. Brownstown township is located in Wayne county, as a downriver community, and it’s 30.64 square miles in size, with a population of around 32,000 people, which is roughly 1400 people per square mile, which is another sparse suburban community on this list.

brownstown township michigan rankings

Niche ranks Brownstown township #13 best places to raise a family in Wayne county, #66 of 338 most diverse suburbs in Michigan, #87 of 336 suburbs with the best public schools in Michigan, and #105 of 337 best suburbs to raise a family in Michigan.

This community is one I never spent too much time in, but after venturing there and experiencing the community, and showing houses, it truly is unlike any other and one I wanted to make sure I put on this list. With this being a township, there are cities and communities located within it such as parts of trenton, flat rock, new boston, rockwood, romulus and riverview.  With the incorporation of a few of the townships cities in the 1960’s, there’s three separate but connected segments. This township has a lot of offerings and amenities simply due to all the cities involved and of course one with Lake Erie water frontage where the Detroit river flows into it, so we are talking, lake Erie metro park golf course, and marina, it’s a pretty cool area that I recommend anyone to check out., especially the homes that are strategically placed around wetlands right on the water, where there's a canal running through, it’s a very small version of what you’d see in places like Dubai.


brownstown township michigan home prices

Taking a look at affordability, we have this graph for the last time I promise, this one gets a little more interesting since the township is in 3 different segments, showing the MLS in blue, northwest Brownstown in red, central Brownstown in yellow and southeast Brownstown in green, you can see how there’s a price fluctuation of nearly 50,000 dollars from central to southeast and central to northwest, which is something to heavily consider location wise when being on a budget. .

and As of right now there are 18 homes and condos for sale in Brownstown, ranging from a $99,900 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom home with 1.068 square feet, on a crawl space with no garage and built in 1946 and situated on half an acre. This home needs all sorts of TLC to say the least. A big fixer upper project. Then on the higher side, we have a $548,000 home with 4 bedrooms, 2.1 bathrooms, 2,630 square feet, with an unfinished basement, with a 3 car garage, built in 2023 and situated on 0.23 acres. This home is a part of the Huron Pointe condominiums located in Rockwood. There’s also areas like Wheatland Estates in flat rock, timber creek, fox creek, woodside village, and prairie creek village that have new construction homes and homes on the higher end of the spectrum.


As far as property taxes, referring to the homes being your primary residence, Brownstown township depending on the school district ranges from a millage rate of 39 to about 45, whereas Wyandotte is about 52, Trenton is around 58, Oak Park is 58 and some change, Madison Heights is 46 and some change, and sterling heights is around 38. The trend you’ll notice is where the average sale price of the home is less, the property taxes are more.  Property taxes are typically based on 4 different indicators, which vary from state to state of course, property tax reliance, home values, local spending and classification, according to a new report from the Lincoln institute, which mentions that generally, cities tend to have more expensive property tax rates if there's high property tax reliance, low property values or more robust local government spending.

Referring to the 6 communities I touched on in this list. Did a few of these areas peak your interest? I have created a home portal for these areas for homes under $250,000 available to you in the description below as a gift from yours truly. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, always happy to help.



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 pillars of Michigan real estate. 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 Brighton, Michigan.

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