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What Metro Detroit City Is Better? Bloomfield Hills Michigan OR Birmingham Michigan

So you’re thinking about making the move to Michigan and Bloomfield hills and Birmingham are on your radar. Be sure to stick around so you can figure out what Metro Detroit suburb is best for you. The Bloomfield Hills Michigan and Birmingham Michigan area is among the top areas to live in southeast Michigan and for several reasons, which I plan to cover here. I’m going to answer questions pertaining to real estate and home prices, the atmosphere, real estate, city rankings, schools, things to do, restaurants, property taxes and so much more. So start popping that popcorn, and get that pen and paper out because I’m about to throw a lot of information your way.

In a location sense, For those of you that don’t know, both of these cities are situated right next to each other like puzzle pieces along the Woodward corridor, but despite their closeness, they are two very different places. It’s like me and my fraternal twin brother Luke, a lot of similarities of course, but at the end of the day he’s got blonde hair and blue eyes.


The city of Bloomfield Hills is roughly 5.04 square miles in size with a population of around 4500 people.

The city of Birmingham however is 4.80 square miles in size with a population of around 21,800 people.

So it’s safe to say based on the similar size of these two cities, there can be some conclusions made by the population differences alone, which I’ll get more into, I promise. Before I do, there’s also Bloomfield township, which is almost 26 square miles in size and wraps itself around Bloomfield hills but also dips its toes into Birmingham a little bit too, with a population of around 42,000 people. Then there’s West Bloomfield off to the west of course, that covers 31.2 square miles with a population of around 66,000 people. The moral of this madness is, these areas are not even close to being the same despite the name Bloomfield being thrown around like confetti at a birthday party. If anything west Bloomfield twp. should be east commerce twp or orchard lake township, so outsiders looking in don’t treat these areas equally, and i’ll further that point when talking about home prices and what not.


I want to kick this off with the overall feel of these two cities. Bloomfield Hills is a suburban rural mix where most of the residents own their homes, the own to rent ratio is 90% to 10%, and they tend to lean more toward the liberal side politically with 56.2% voting democrat, 42.2% voting republic, and the difference voting independent for the last presidential election according to This city is known for the Cranbrook institute of science and art, the Bloomfield hills country club, as well as the Bloomfield open hunt club.

It’s a community that doesn’t wish to bring upon a lot of change other than being continually reliable and always improving public services. When people come into this city, they can sense that feeling of “old money” partly due to the heavy presence of high end executives and businessmen who made this city quite exclusive during the auto boom, as well as it being home to several professional athletes on the Detroit sports teams, and being home to Motown musicians, entertainers, architects, chefs and so many other industries that created a diverse culture throughout the community. Birmingham on the other hand is more of a dense suburban feeling, where the own to rent ratio is 76% to 24%. The political climate is almost identical to that of Bloomfield hills. Birmingham was incorporated as a village in 1864 and made into a city in 1932, whereas Bloomfield hills was incorporated as a village in 1927 then a city in 1932. All that to say, Birmingham is the older brother, with goals to maintain a vibrant and prosperous atmosphere, while keeping the smalltown feel and experiencing the benefits and amenities of an affluent urban area. Birmingham is known for a thriving retail shopping district with a historic downtown that dates back to the 1830’s as I mentioned where there’s a mix of 300 historic and modern retail and service businesses.


With all this in mind, I want to chat about how these two cities rank. Many of you may know, these two cities are among the most expensive and prestigious areas in metro Detroit, ranks Bloomfield hills #1 of 617 places with the best public schools in Michigan, #1 of 334 suburbs with the best public schools in Michigan and #15 of 621 best places to retire in Michigan. Birmingham on the other hand is ranked #2 of 617 places with the best public schools in Michigan, #2 of 334 suburbs with the best public schools in Michigan, and #5 of 336 best suburbs to live in Michigan. Now I know what you’re thinking, Bloomfield hills is #1 in schools and Birmingham is #2, so that means your questions are answered and the comparison is over, wrong! There’s so many factors to consider, and even with top rated schools, choosing the city that ranks number 2 does not mean your child isn’t going to be proficient in all the necessary subjects. This isn’t Talladega nights, if you ain't first you’re last, there’s too many other factors to consider.. 


Staying on the topic of rankings for a second, I wanted to jump into schools a little more. In Bloomfield Hills, The international academy that serves 9th to 12th grade is rated #2 best public school in Michigan, whereas Bloomfield high school sits at #13 for the whole state of Michigan, then there’s Eastover elementary school coming in at #10 best public elementary school in Michigan with grades K through 3rd, South Hills middle school which serves 6th - 8th grade is ranked #10 best middle schools in Michigan. Keep in mind, Bloomfield hills also has Cranbrook which serves k through 12th grade and is the #1 best private school in Michigan, and this is a huge reason why a lot of people move to Bloomfield hills, along with Brother Rice which is a private high school that ranks 9th in the state. Maybe living in Bloomfield Hills isn’t a top priority, but getting the school district is, so what I highly recommend since the rankings vary quite a bit from each elementary, middle, academy and high school, search Bloomfield hills school district map and it will give you a pretty color coded PDF to let you know what schools are in what district and i’ll be sure to link that in the description so you don’t have to look too hard. Moving over to Birmingham.

Do the same search for the district map, and I’ll link that in the description too for Birmingham. Wylie E Groves high school tanks #7 best high schools in Michigan, which serves 9th through 12th grade, Beverly elementary school is #71 best public elementary schools in Michigan serving k through 5th grade and Birmingham Covington school ranks #34 best public schools in Michigan serving grades 3 to 8th. Birmingham also has the Roeper school serving grades 6ht - 12 that ranks #6 best private high schools in Michigan. With all those rankings in mind, i’ll switch gears to Real estate prices and property taxes.


bloomfield hills michigan, birmingham michigan

Kicking off with home prices, taking a look at this graph provided by the multiple listing service it shows the average sale price over the last 3 years in Bloomfield hills (in blue), Birmingham (in green), Bloomfield township (in yellow) And west Bloomfield (in red). Of course this topic isn’t about Bloomfield Township and West Bloomfield Township, but I figured I’d throw it in for comparison, in case you were thinking, I love the area, but I don’t want to pay to live in it. Well, here’s the price of the surrounding areas. Bloomfield Hills comes in at over 1.1 million dollars, which was a 2.1% decrease year over year, which doesn’t mean the economy is tanking, there could’ve just been a lot of larger sales in the 2-3 million range last year, and more of the 800-900,000 sales this year. Birmingham comes in at just under $950,000, a 19.4% increase, Bloomfield twp comes in at $713,462, which was a 1.3% increase and west Bloomfield comes in at just under $464,000, which was a 0.5% increase. There’s almost a 200,000 dollar difference between each of these areas, so it’s safe to say this aspect alone will dictate your decision a little bit. And something that will dictate your decision even more are the property taxes.


For property tax examples, I typically hop on the Michigan property tax estimator, but I’ll do it another way just to show you and I’ll link that video to other Michigan property tax videos in the description. I’m going to search Birmingham Michigan property taxes in google, Then click the link that will take us to the Birmingham website, scroll down to their millage rate, and it comes in at 40.2062 which includes their local city tax of 13.3542. A mill represents $1 for every $1000 of taxable value. So what we will do is take 50% of the home's sale price. Let’s say it’s a 900K home, we’d take $450,000 divided by 1,000, which equals 450, then multiply it by that millage rate of 40.2062, which would equals $18,092.79 for a primary residence. And I know what you’re thinking, holy smokes, that’s a lot of cheddar to throw at property taxes, and I get you, but this is actually a high estimate so you can plan for the worst and hope for the best. Otherwise, people will simply take the taxable value on a home’s listing instead of half the sale price and it would be a low estimate to the point where affordability could be an issue a year later when you start to pay those uncapped property taxes. Most people will average the low and high value together and say it will land somewhere in the middle for a very good estimate.

Of course consider reaching out to the local assessor to get an estimate from them too to know for sure.

Anyway, we have a little over 18K in taxes in Birmingham for a 900K home, if we look at Bloomfield hills, we’ll go through the same process, google Bloomfield hills property tax, this one will have us jump through a few more hoops, and take us to a PDF that shows the rate difference between Birmingham schools and Bloomfield hills. We’ll look at Bloomfield Hills schools in this scenario. Snag that millage rate of and do the exact same valuation by using the 900K home, take 50% of it, that’s 450,000, divide it by 1,000, we get 450 and multiply it by their millage rate of 35.9540 which comes out to $16,179.30 for a primary residence. So again, these are things to keep in mind, when choosing between these two cities. It may not seem like a ton of money to you maybe, but something to be aware of.


As far as things to do in each of these two cities, they aren’t too terribly far from one another, so it’s not like you can’t just scoop some amenities from one community while living in the other and vice versa. I mean they’re 5 minutes away from each other. Of course in Bloomfield hills you have everything Cranbrook, from the art, museum, the institute of science, along with the house and gardens. Bloomfield Hills isn’t really known for having an extravagant downtown, the Woodward corridor is pretty fast paced, and then you hit the intersection of long lake rd and that’s pretty much all there is to it. As far as amenities and restaurants, they are all there and available, depending on who you’d ask, they might say they are slim, but again, a Woodward corridor can take you to a lot of great metro Detroit cities in just a couple minutes.

This community mainly contains country clubs, tennis clubs, and a few mid to upper scale establishments. It’s not that small sidewalk community that is a two lane street by any means. Birmingham on the other hand is a polar opposite. Just west of the Woodward corridor, there’s old Woodward, that intersects with maple road, and this is your two lane, street parking and sidewalk town with endless restaurants and shopping opportunities. It has such a wonderful close knit feel to it, I’ve done a driving tour of this city, which I’ll link in the description where I mentioned one of my offices is right on old Woodward, so it’s been very cool to be a part of this community. I’ll be sure to link some information pertaining to restaurants and things to do in each city in the description below as well.


Something I didn’t mention at the beginning but you could probably takeaway from this video’s thumbnail is, Birmingham is more of that jam packed city with a downtown space feeling, and Bloomfield hills feels a little more rural, and a little more private and I think that’s why a lot of professional athletes hide out over there, even if that is more into Bloomfield twp, since Bloomfield hills is mainly that intersection I talked about and a few side streets. 

For those of you that made it this far, which city would you live in based on all the information I threw at you? Drop your choice in the comments.

If you’re looking to buy, sell or invest in either of these two wonderful cities or in Michigan in general, don’t hesitate to reach out, I’d be happy to be your go-to resource. Until next time!


→Birmingham Michigan Things To Do:

→Bloomfield Hills Michigan Things To Do:

→Birmingham Michigan Driving Tour:

→Bloomfield Hills Pros + Cons:

→Everyone Loves Bloomfield Hills:



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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