If your thoughts immediately turn to Detroit when someone mentions Michigan, you’re in for a surprise. While the beleaguered Motor City may be the state’s biggest and most famous city, there’s an abundance of up and coming towns, cities and villages all doing their bit to turn Michigan into one of the most desirable states around. Whether you’re looking for a safe, quiet neighborhood to raise a family, or a vibrant, buzzing community to enjoy your single years, you’ll not be short of options with our round-up of the twenty very best places to live in Michigan.
Fancy living somewhere with great access to the thrills and spills of city life but with next to none of its problems? Then consider Farmington. Its historic district is charming, its architecture is attractive. Streets are safe and the economy is booming. The downtown is a shopper’s paradise; the farmers market is exceptional. Need any more convincing? You can buy a house here for the bargain price of just $177,100. If that doesn’t do the job, I don’t know what will.
For affordability, safety, and amenities, Eastown is an all-round winner. The unemployment rate is a minuscule 6.1%, crime per 100k is a very respectable 1,896, the average house price is just $262,337, and the average median income is a more than decent $83,036. Add first-class schools, an abundance of great shops, restaurants, and bars to the list, and you can understand why it’s considered one of Grand Rapids' most desirable neighborhoods.
18. Huntington Woods
Make your next home Huntington Woods and you’ll have plenty to smile about. The 6,347 residents of this small suburb of Detroit enjoy a first-class range of amenities, one of the lowest crime rates in the wider Detroit area, a very respectable median household income of $125,873, excellent schools, and plenty of indoor and outdoor activities. With features like this, it’s little wonder $321,400 is considered a reasonable price to pay for a property.
If you’ve got $225,735 going spare, you may want to put it to good use by investing in a property in the very desirable Grand Rapids neighborhood of Eastgate. If you do, you’ll enjoy a small, friendly community of 9,462, a low crime rate, a median income of $88,226, great schools, and first-class amenities. If $225,735 is too much of a stretch, you can rent a great little property for the incredibly low price of just $445 a month (just to put this in perspective- the national average is a comparatively huge $949).
If affordable housing is on your wish list, look no further than the little town of Haslett. Just $177,000 will get you a good-sized family home in this charming community, while $842 will get you an equally decent property to rent. Even if we put the attractive house prices to one side, there’s a lot to like about Haslett: crime, poverty, and unemployment rates are all reassuringly low, while at $63,140, the average household income is correspondingly high. Residents enjoy access to a top-rated school system, walkable streets, and numerous bike trails. Amenities are excellent, and with some of Michigan’s biggest cities within easy commuting distance, the job opportunities are almost boundless. All in all, a very sound addition to our list.
“In all of Michigan, this has got to be my favorite town to live. I've been everywhere in Michigan and Franklin just has the best of the best. Professional citizens, charming estate-style homes, quaint downtown. Only the best of everything and people who really care! The Police and businesses are nothing but AMAZING! I really like that there aren’t a lot of crisp dollars flying around this town,” so says one reviewer on Niche, and with great schools, an incredibly low crime rate, a highly educated populous, and an abundance of things to see and do, we can’t help but agree.
14. Grosse Pointe Farms
The chief attraction of Grosse Pointe Farms? Just $298,400 will get you a home, and once installed, you can expect to earn a staggering $132,390. Other than that, the usual list of benefits applies: top-rated schools, a low crime rate, a stunning lakefront setting, just ten minutes commuting distance from downtown Detroit, excellent public services, and a good old-fashioned sense of community.
13. Northville Township
In at number 13 is Northville Township. 28,838 people choose to call this suburb of Detroit home, and for very good reason. The violent crime rate is far below the national average (according to the latest figures, it has only 87 assaults (compared to a national average of 282.70) 0 murders or robberies (compared to a national average of 6.1 and 135.5 respectively), and 13.9 rapes (compared to average of 40.7). Property crimes are similarly low, with only 93.9 burglaries (compared to the average of 500.1), 932.1 thefts (compared to an average of 2042.8), and 52.2 motor vehicle thefts (compared to an average of 284). The local job market is doing well enough for itself to support a median income of $109,712, while the local schools are some of the best in the state. Amenities are abundant and the infrastructure is excellent…all in all, a district well worthy of a position among the best places to live in Michigan.
12. Ottawa Hills
A quick glance at some of the chief attractions of Ottawa Hills tells you all you need to know about why it deserves a place on our list: its small population of 3,785 are welcoming and friendly; its median home price of $256,950 is affordable; the average rent is far below the national average at $593; the crime rate is next to non-existent; the schools are some of the best in Michigan (East Grande Rapids High School, Breton Downs School, Wealthy School, and East Grande Rapids Middle School all come highly recommended); it has an above-average median income of $92,279; it’s got a year-round schedule of local events… the list goes on.
11. Lodi Township
Ranked as #1 in Best Suburbs to Buy a House in Michigan by Niche, Lodi Township has some serious attractions to its name. The average house price may be high at $328,300, but few will quibble over the price when they consider the excellent schools, low crime rate, great commuting access, $121,071 median income, and abundant facilities on offer. As one reviewer on Niche says: “Quiet country living yet close to the city. Friendly neighbors who live here to be away from city life and raise a family.”
Want urban convenience with none of its downfalls? If so, you may want to take a closer look at the friendly suburb of Novi. Primely situated between Detroit and Anne Harbor, Novi offers commuters a safe, pleasant place to live while enjoying easy access to the booming job markets of its surrounding neighborhoods. Its schools, crime rate, and median income are all among the best in the state, while its abundance of affordable housing options is a huge draw to young family and singletons alike.
9. East Grand Rapids
Regularly featuring on lists of the best places in Michigan to retire, the peaceful little suburb of East Grand Rapids in Kent County offers the best of both worlds: a relaxing, safe environment, and enough first-class amenities and local attractions to ensure more than adequate entertainment. As well as being a huge draw for the older generation, the suburb offers a superb setting for raising a family, with almost no crime, excellent schools, a $125,180 median household income, and a diverse, welcoming community. As you’d expect, there’s a price to be paid for living in such a desirable locale: expect to pay around $325,500 for a single-family home, or $1489 in rent.
8. Grosse Pointe Park
Grosse Pointe Park is a suburb of Detroit with a distinctly small community vibe (which is probably understandable considering its population is just 11,240). The average house price may be high (expect to pay around $332,000 for a single-family home), but the list of perks you get for your money makes it a price well worth paying. Incidences of violent crime are almost non-existent, while property crime is well below the national average. The schools rank among the best in the state, while the job market is booming. At $105,161, the average income is almost twice the national average, while the list of amenities covers two waterfront parks (each housing private movie theatres, pools and splash pads), a stunning range of local shops and business, first-class wining and dining opportunities, and a vibrant nightlife.
Small- community feel? Check. Easy commuting access to Detroit? Check. A great place to raise a family? Check, Check, Check. With a low crime rate, stunning surrounds, a world class school system, and bountiful local attractions and amenities, there’s every reason in the book as to why the small suburb of Northville is regularly voted one of the best places in Michigan for families.
6. Beverly Hills
It may not have the same line up of stars and swanky shops to its name, but the Michigan version of Beverly Hughes is no less desirable than its sun-soaked Californian equivalent. The architecture of the village is one of the main attractions, with colonial-style homes and cape cod style villas adding a charming appeal that’s hard to beat. Factor in the delightful picnicking grounds and fishing opportunities at the Riverside Park, the safe streets, and the abundance of restaurants, shops, and excellent schools, and you’re easily looking at one of the state’s most attractive locations.
It may be just 25 minutes from Detroit, but vibrant Troy couldn’t be more different to its troubled neighbor. With a diverse, welcoming population of 83,3336, a (semi) affordable median home value of $269,800, walkable streets, a low crime rate, excellent schools, and the kind of stable economy that supports a median household income of $93,017, it’s little wonder so many of the state’s citizens are abandoning Detroit for the delights of Troy.
According to The Crazy Tourist, Birmingham ranks as one of the best places in Michigan to raise a family. The schools are some of the best in the state, turning out the kind of razor sharp minds capable of testing 21% above the national average. Combine that great school system with a crime rate that’s 83% lower than the national average, a median household income of $114,537, well-groomed parks, and excellent facilities, and you can start to see why residents feel justified in asking $467,700 for the privilege of moving in.
3. Ann Arbor
As home to the renowned University of Michigan, Ann Arbor has a buzzing, vibrant atmosphere that’s perfectly complemented by its bountiful array of parks, booming economy, abundant range of cultural events, first-rate schools, beautiful neighborhoods, and a downtown area that’s so happening, it may very well have already happened. As a regular fixture on “best of’ lists, Ann Arbor has it all… including some incredibly affordable housing options. With just $240,700 securing a good-sized family home, it’s no surprise why this charming town is considered one of the best places to live in Michigan.
2. Bloomfield Charter Township
Bloomfield Town Chartership, a midsized suburb on the outskirts of Detroit, scores highly across the board. Crime is low, incomes are high ($123,086 at the last count), schools are excellent, commuting access is great, and the amenities are superb. Safe, quiet, and surrounded by well-maintained natural areas as well as plenty of golf courses and other recreational pursuits, the only thing it doesn’t have in abundance is affordable housing. If you decide to make Bloomfield Charter Township your next permanent base, don’t expect to get much change from $385,400 for a single-family home.
The little city of Okemos has some of the most cost-effective housing in the state. For just $213,600, you can enjoy the privilege of living in a city where 43% of the population have a masters degree (and another 31% have a bachelors degree), where kids get to attend some of the best schools in the state, where the streets are safe, the parks are bountiful, the amenities are numerous, and the average income is a whopping $74,568. With attractions like this, it’s no surprise Okemos ranks as the #1 best place to live in Michigan.
Written by Liz Flynn
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