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Modern House


The ACTUAL Cost Of Living In Michigan

The ACTUAL Cost Of Living In Southeast Michigan - In this video, I tell you about the real cost of living and moving to southeast Michigan. When you move to southeast Michigan you are going to need to know what to budget for and what the cost of living in Michigan is ACTUALLY going to be. I touch on the cost of housing in SE Michigan, home prices, property taxes, utilities, groceries' and a few other expenses. If you're planning on relocating to Southeast MI, make sure you watch this video first.

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).

One of the BIGGEST questions I get from people out of state or in other areas of Michigan is, what is the cost of living there? So, as the title states I’ll be tackling the cost of living for southeast Michigan. For those of you that are unfamiliar with what the region of southeast Michigan actually covers, it’s compiled of the counties: Livingston, Oakland, Washtenaw, Macomb, Wayne, Monroe and St. Clair. So many sources out there will tell you different counties within the southeast region, so I’ll simply base it on the southeast Michigan council of governments to ensure accuracy. Since there are so many counties that make up the southeastern region of Michigan, I’ll take the average costs from all 7 counties so there’s no confusion, but I'll be sure to let you know what areas are more expensive than others along the way.

The first thing I want to touch on is rents, and before I jump into these monthly rent rates, keep in mind that a few months ago, the Detroit Free Press put out this article stating that the rents have gone up over 8.8% over the last 2 years, just like they have across the nation. As you can probably tell from watching some of my other videos, I am a very visual person, so that’s how I tend to create my videos, so I'll touch on 3 of the more popular counties in southeast Michigan for these precise rent rates: Livingston, Oakland and Wayne county.

If you’re looking for a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath home for rent in Livingston county, you could expect to pay an average of just over $2,000 a month, with a payment of $1,605 in the 25th percentile. If you’re wanting to get a 2 bedroom 1 bathroom home for rent in the same county, you can expect to pay an average of $1,182 and $985 a month on the low side. In Oakland county for a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom home, you’d expect to pay just over $2,000 a month and $1,592 on the low side. If you wanted a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom home in the same county it would be just under $1300 a month with $1,066 being on the low side. If you were looking in the Wayne County area which covers anything on the border of Novi and Northville over to Dearborn, you’d expect to pay $1,468 a month and $1,148 a month on the low side for a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom home. If you wanted to downsize to a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom home it would be on average $1,082 a month with $895 a month on the low side.

What about purchasing a home? Taking a look at these charts provided by the multiple listing service, you can see Livingston (blue), Oakland (green), Washtenaw (yellow) and Macomb (red) counties average sale price progressing over the last 3 years, showing the average sale price in the month of August and the percent of growth over the last 121 months.

This next chart will show you the price per square foot in each one of the 4 counties I mentioned. I wanted to include this to give you more perspective on how these counties fluctuate despite being in the same region of the state. Moving onto the last 3 counties average sale price: Wayne (blue), Monroe (green), and St. Clair (yellow). As I mentioned before this shows you the 3 year progression bringing it to these very similar average sale prices in the month of August along with the growth rate percentage over the last year.

Now over to the average price per square foot in these 3 counties, you can see how similar these counties are, as they differentiate by just a few dollars a square foot. As of August 2022, Washtenaw county has come in the highest average at $414,105 and Wayne county came in at the lowest average sale price of $180,000.

Of course, none of these average sale prices mean anything if the property taxes aren’t acknowledged. Since rates vary from county to county, I’ll provide this chart from H&R Block that breaks down the median annual real property tax payment and average effective real property tax rate in each of the counties in southeast Michigan. According to this resource, the Michigan's average effective real property tax rate is 1.64% and for those of you that don’t know what real property tax is, it’s simply the system of taxation that requires the owners of the land and buildings to pay money based on the value of their land and what’s on it. If you find yourself looking at a few different locations in the mitten state and are curious about the property taxes, I’ll link a real property tax estimator in the description that is provided by the Michigan Department of Treasury to ensure accuracy.

If you’re wanting to know how to calculate property taxes based on a county or townships millage rate, I’ll link a video or two in the description where I break down a few examples.

Another aspect that a lot of people don’t touch on in cost of living videos is homeowners insurance< as you may know from filling out your own quote in the past or maybe not, there’s a lot that goes into figuring out how much your homeowners insurance is going to be. In Michigan, the average cost for homeowners insurance is just over $1,200 a year for a $250,000 home.

Another question that a lot of out of staters ask me, is how much does it cost to move there? And I’m glad you asked, so I’ll break down a couple scenarios. U-haul does a great job of giving you on the spot rates without committing to anything. In this example, we’ll take a look at the moving cost from the Silicon Valley, California area to southeast Michigan. The 10’ truck (which is sized for a studio or 1 bedroom apartment) will be about $2,656, which doesn’t include the environmental fee or damage coverage, which would bring your total to about $2801 and that doesn’t include the gas driving from point A to B. If you decide you want to get a couple movers to accompany you in the packing of the U-Haul, you could expect to pay them 250-$350 an hour in California, and $150-$250 an hour when you get to Michigan. If you need some more space, the 26’ truck *(which covers a 3-4 bedroom home) will be just over $7,000 and of course that wouldn’t account for the environmental fee or damage protection that would bring that total around $7,300.

If you decide to make the move from let’s say Tampa, Florida, you could expect to pay anywhere from $692 for the 10’ truck to $911 for the 26’ truck.

Or if you wanted to move from New York, you could expect to pay $1,191 for the 10’ truck and $2,383 for the 26’ truck. As you can see, the rental rates fluctuate quite a bit. So if you’re looking to take this route for moving, I suggest you familiarize yourself with the U-Haul website and everything they can offer to make your move go as smoothly as possible. Otherwise, Home advisor states that hiring full blown movers to move you across the country can range from $4,000 to $10,000 (or more), and judging by how much the U-Haul is, I’d say you could expect it to be more than $10,000.

Switching gears to another important topic, utilities and food. This question isn’t asked very much, but I think it should be since our seasons and weather tend to be much different than the majority of the states across the country. The average electric bill in Michigan for residential consumers is about $183 a month which is calculated based on the average electric rate of 1,003 Kilowatt-hours multiplied by the average 18 cents per kilowatt hour which gives you that $183 figure. I’d say this is a fairly accurate number for a 3-4 bedroom home depending on the time of year of course, as furnaces run on gas and air conditioners run on electric, so they tend to switch places in overall cost as we transition seasons. The average gas bill in Michigan is right around $68 a month. And like I said, the gas and electric totals will trade totals in the summer and winter months.

The average water bill in the area per month is about $29. Of course, this would depend on if you’re on city water or well, because a well is free as it’s solely on your property unless you are in a community that has a community well in which you’d pay similar prices to city water. As far as the sewer bill, most people will pay around $15-$20 a month and most times this payment is roped in with your water payment as a total charge, but if you’re on a septic then of course it’s free, until you need to spend $200-$300 to get it pumped every 3-5 years.

The average internet bill a month in Michigan is right around $59.99. As of right now, I pay $55 a month for AT & T internet and that’s only for 100 MBPS, and since I’m someone who utilizes the internet quite a bit, it’s actually not as bad as it would seem. I know Fiber internet users out there probably wonder how I live. For better internet you could expect to pay $80-$120 a month depending on your needs. When it comes to the average phone bill, it would depend heavily on your carrier, but on average, the typical phone bill is $127.37 a month, but there’s no say in how many people are on that plan. For me, I pay around $83 a month on a Verizon plan for unlimited talk and text with 3 other people on the plan. I have an iphone 12 Pro that I have not paid off yet. Just out of curiosity, how much are you paying for your phone and what carrier do you use? Let me know in the comments!

Last but not least, I want to touch on the grocery bill. The average single adult will spend about $3,000 to $3500 a year on groceries. For me and my fiancé, juggling a Costco membership and frequent stops to Kroger and Meijer, we spend on average $120-$150 a week on groceries for us two. We tend to shop fairly healthy and spend more for better quality, so I could see that the average is more so around $115-$120 a week.


→Michigan Property Tax Estimator:

→Michigan Property Tax Video:



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.


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