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11 Most Expensive Cities In Michigan

by | Dec 26, 2021

Michigan is a wonderful state to move to or call home. Known as the “Great Lakes State”, it’s also one of the best places to raise a family. Not to mention, the cost of living in Michigan is still reasonable with an average home value of $218,419 in 2021 according to Zillow. This is well below the national average of $316,368.

From Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids and Traverse City, the Wolverine State has a ton to offer. But what are the most expensive cities in Michigan? Check out our map of Most Expensive Michigan Cities to quickly see where they are located.

most expensive cities in Michigan

Now, just because you live in an expensive place in this beautiful upper Midwest US state doesn’t mean you’re getting a bad deal. Home prices in the state of Michigan are still quite affordable when compared to New York, Illinois, or California. And while Detroit gets a lot of flack, it has some of the prettiest up-and-coming suburbs of any major US city.

If you’re thinking about moving to these any of these cities, you should know that kitchen cabinet painting is one of the most common renovations when moving to a new house. Kitchen cabinet painting can be expensive, so check out our guide on kitchen cabinet painting costs so you know what to expect.

Richest Cities In Michigan Criteria

As previously mentioned, the Michigan cities we list here as most expensive should not be interpreted as overpriced or unaffordable. Compared to other states in the nation, Michigan real estate is still a great value. Especially when you contrast the cost of living index of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Detroit with most major metropolitan areas across the county.

With that being said, if you’re reading this list, you probably care about good quality. If you’re thinking about painting, check out our guide on Benjamin Moore vs. Sherwin Williams so you know which paint will leave you with the best paint job.

Michigan's richest cities state

In this list of the richest cities in Michigan, we skewed towards larger-sized cities with a population of 10,000 or more. However, we included a couple of small towns of our Honorable Mentions. Likewise, we focused on cities located in lower Michigan versus the Upper Peninsula.

While the U.P. has some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in America, most of Michigan’s population resides in the lower half of the mitten. As a result, our list is geared towards those moving to Michigan’s most popular residential areas. Without further ado, here’s our list of the wealthiest and most expensive Michigan cities.

  1. Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI is a Washtenaw County city located 43 miles west of central Detroit. With normal traffic, it takes about 45 minutes to drive to downtown Detroit from Ann Arbor. There are plenty of nearby townships that would deserve to be on this list but whose population is too small. Saline, MI is a prime example of this.

Ann Arbor MI Richest City

Ann Arbor, commonly abbreviated as A2, ranks at the top of our list for the most expensive cities in Michigan. The Ann Arbor SPARK program has a focus on economic development. As a result, it has helped Ann Arbor claim the title of Michigan’s “Start-Up City.”

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City Stats Ann Arbor, MI:

  • Ann Arbor, MI Population: 119,976
  • Median Annual Property Tax: $6,366
  • Average Household Income: $72,137
  • Median Home Value: $370,100

Ann Arbor tops our list because it has so much to do. It might not have the most expensive houses, but there are plenty of other opportunities for you to empty your purse/wallet. Whether you like outdoor activities, quality restaurants, or shopping at one-of-a-kind retailers, Ann Arbor has you covered.

If you’re a football fan, you’ll be excited to know that Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan Stadium. The stadium is lovingly referred to as The Big House. Not only is it the largest stadium in the United States, but it’s also the second-largest in the world.

University of Michigan Stadium
  1. Birmingham, MI

Birmingham, Michigan is perhaps the wealthiest suburb of Detroit. This is enough to put it right near the top for us. It is located 20 miles north of the center of Detroit along the Woodward corridor. If you don’t want a suburb of a large metro area, skip down to #7, since the next few will also be Detroit suburbs.

Birmingham, MI Stats:

  • Birmingham, MI Population: 21,201
  • Median Annual Property Tax: $8,393
  • Average Household Income: $122,804
  • Median Home Value: $541,500

Also, check out the Birmingham Country Club. It’s been around for over 100 years and even hosted the PGA Championship in 1953. The country club was almost enough to carry Birmingham to #1 and take Ann Arbor’s spot. However, Ann Arbor’s size and more diverse recreational activities gave it the edge.

  1. Troy

Troy, MI is a suburb of Detroit, about 25 miles north of the city center. It takes approximately half an hour to drive there with the usual traffic. Troy used to be the largest city in Oakland County but recently lost that title to Farmington Hills.

Moreover, Troy has a rich history. From 1898 to 1931, they had an electric trolley serviced by Detroit United Railroad, which connected Detroit and Milwaukee.

Troy, Michigan Information:

  • Troy, MI Population: 84,087
  • Median Annual Property Tax: $5,324
  • Average Household Income: $110,909
  • Median Home Value: $343,500

Despite being a close suburb of Detroit, Troy makes it easy to enjoy nature. The Stage Nature Center has hiking trails and makes it easy to get away without going far.

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Rich cities near Detroit, MI

Want to see how Michigan homes compare to the most expensive residences sold in the Midwest? Read about the priciest houses sold in Chicagoland history in our new article! 

  1. Rochester, MI

Rochester, MI is one of the farther suburbs of Detroit. It is a 40-minute drive north from the center of Detroit. Some people might disagree with us lumping Rochester and Rochester Hills together. But Rochester is essentially the downtown for Rochester Hills.

Rochester, MI Data:

  • Rochester/Rochester Hills, MI Population: 13,162
  • Median Annual Property Tax: $5,675
  • Average Household Income: $89,904
  • Median Home Value: $366,100

Rochester has a welcome guide for people who want to move to a new home. Even if you already live there, it’s worth a quick scroll through. It will probably answer a lot of questions you don’t even know you had.

  1. Novi, Michigan

The city of Novi, MI is approximately 30 miles northwest of downtown Detroit. It takes about half an hour by car to drive from Novi to downtown. Novi has a great school system and consistently ranks top 10 in the state for college readiness.

Stats For Novi, MI:

  • Novi, MI Population: 60,014
  • Median Annual Property Tax: $4,993
  • Average Household Income: $98,020
  • Median Home Value: $322,100

The Novi Town Center directory lets you easily see the restaurants and stores in Novi. So check it out if you want a digital taste of Novi life. If you like the outdoors, check out the MSU Tollgate Farm. Not only does it have some interesting history behind it, but it’s also an extension of Michigan State University and hosts a lot of fun events.

Michigan State University Novi
  1. Farmington Hills

Farmington Hills, MI is a 26-minute drive north of Detroit’s center. Indeed, it is the largest city in Oakland county. Recently, Farmington Hills took that title from Troy, MI.

More About Farmington Hills, MI:

  • Farmington Hills, MI Population: 86,178
  • Median Annual Property Tax: $4,374
  • Average Household Income: $86,178
  • Median Home Value: $282,200

If you still aren’t convinced that Farmington is enough for your expensive tastes, just wait. Check out the Farmington Hills Porsche dealership. Similarly, don’t be surprised if you see some cars worth more than the median home value in other Michigan cities.

  1. East Grand Rapids

Breaking from the Detroit suburbs and representing Grand Rapids, we have East Grand Rapids coming in at #7. East Grand Rapids is only a few miles away from downtown Grand Rapids. Nearby Kalamazoo is also worth taking a look at. Although Kalamazoo didn’t make the cut for this list, it’s only about a 2 hour and 15-minute drive from Chicago. As a result, it might be worth considering.

City Stats East Grand Rapids, MI:

  • East Grand Rapids, MI Population: 11,759
  • Median Annual Property Tax: $5,647
  • Average Household Income: $144,922
  • Median Home Value: $374,000

East Grand Rapids has some of the best schools in Michigan. They boast of having the top 5 SAT scores for Michigan Public High Schools. Certainly, if you have school-aged kids, definitely check out East Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids MI
  1. Livonia, MI

Livonia, MI is located roughly in the middle of Ann Arbor and Detroit’s center. However, it is only 2 miles west of Detroit’s city limits.

Key Stats For Livonia, MI:

  • Livonia, MI Population: 93,664
  • Median Annual Property Tax: $5,172
  • Average Household Income: $81,305
  • Median Home Value: $220,100

There are a bunch of reasons why Livonia made the list. First, Livonia has been praised for its parks and recreation services and central locations. As a result, Livonia has received some high recognition. For example, it is rated as one of the top real estate markets for millennials. Likewise, it’s also rated as one of the happiest mid-sized cities. Not to mention, Livonia is a top place to move to if you want to raise a family in Michigan.

  1. South Lyon, Michigan

South Lyon, MI has a great location. It is about 5 miles west of Novi’s city limits. As a result, it has some separation from the rest of Detroit’s suburbs while still being pretty close to the city. It’s also less than a half-hour drive from Ann Arbor, so you have easy access to two premium metros!

About South Lyon, MI:

  • South Lyon, MI Population: 11,788
  • Median Annual Property Tax: $2,978
  • Average Household Income: $73,200
  • Median Home Value: $192,100

South Lyon fun fact: the Witches Hat Depot Museum is named so due to the old train depot having a roof that resembles a witch’s hat. The Lyons ran with this and it has become a symbol of the city. They also have a Witch’s Hat Brewing Company and McHattie Park. You might assume a city called South Lyon would put its pride in something more lion-like. However, Witch’s Hat adds a great flair especially during the Fall season in Michigan.

  1. Royal Oak

Royal Oak, MI is located along the Woodward corridor. It is about 15 miles north of the center of Detroit. Furthermore, Royal Oak is another Detroit suburb located in Oakland County.

More Royal Oak, MI Stats:

  • Royal Oak, MI Population: 59,195
  • Median Annual Property Tax: $3,481
  • Average Household Income: $81,665
  • Median Home Value: $224,600

The Detroit Zoo is located partly in Royal Oak, but most of it is located in the neighboring Huntington Woods. Still, it provides a fun and close-by educational experience for yourself and your kids. The Detroit Zoo even has some live cameras on some of the animals, so check them out once you’re done reading this article!

  1. Ypsilanti

Ypsilanti, MI, commonly referred to as “Ypsi”, is a city located right along the east side of Ann Arbor. You could think of Ann Arbor as Ypsi’s bigger sibling. If you like all that Ann Arbor has to offer but find it a little too expensive to live there, Ypsilanti might be the best place for you. It’s close enough that it’s effectively a part of Ann Arbor, but the housing costs are lower.

Data For Ypsilanti, MI:

  • Ypsilanti, MI Population: 20,828
  • Median Annual Property Tax: $2,602
  • Average Household Income: $39,332
  • Median Home Value: $151,300

If you live in Ypsilanti, you get a lot of the same resources that Ann Arbor residents get. For example, Ann Arbor’s SPARK program has an innovation center in Ypsilasnti. There are other great nearby communities, such as Saline, MI. Lots of these communities deserve to be on this list but didn’t make the cut because their population is too small.

Honorable Mentions

Brighton and Howell, MI unfortunately didn’t meet the size cutoff of this list. However, we still wanted to give a shout-out to these two Ann Arbor suburbs. Notwithstanding, they are both located a 20-30 minute drive from Ann Arbor.

Moreover, Beverly Hills, MI deserves a shout-out just for the name alone. Although it’s not quite as expensive as its California doppelganger, it still has an above-average cost of living for Michigan.

east lansing michigan

Indeed, Grosse Pointe, including Grosse Pointe Farms and Grosse Pointe Park, are also deserving of being on this list. Unfortunately, we couldn’t justify giving up three spots for what is essentially one suburb. Likewise, we left off West Bloomfield because it was just under our population threshold.

Lastly, Traverse City also gets an honorable mention for being the most expensive city with direct access to Lake Michigan.

How Does Michigan compare to other major metros like Saint Louis? Learn by reading our list of the top 10 St. Louis suburbs to get more insights on home values and costs of living in each state.

FAQs

  • What is the most expensive city in Michigan to live in?

    Ann Arbor is the most expensive Michigan city to live in. Although housing costs might be higher in other cities, Ann Arbor’s prospering economy gives you plenty more opportunities to empty your purse or wallet.

  • Which city in Michigan has the lowest cost of living?

    Lansing, MI is the Michigan city with the lowest cost of living. With a household median income of $41,000 and a median home value of only $94,000, Lansing’s low cost of living makes it one of the most affordable cities in Michigan. However, nearby East Lansing is actually one of the richest cities in the state.

  • Where is the most expensive house in Michigan?

    Charlevoix, MI has the most expensive home in Michigan listed for sale on realtor.com. This 7 bedroom/10 bathroom, 16,000 sq ft house located on the far northern shore of Lake Charlevoix has a list price of $10,900,000. The runner-up is a 23,000 sq ft mansion located in Bloomfield Hills.

  • What is the most expensive city in Michigan to live in?

    Ann Arbor is the most expensive Michigan city to live in. Although housing costs might be higher in other cities, Ann Arbor’s prospering economy gives you plenty more opportunities to empty your purse or wallet.

  • Which city in Michigan has the lowest cost of living?

    Lansing, MI is the Michigan city with the lowest cost of living. With a household median income of $41,000 and a median home value of only $94,000, Lansing’s low cost of living makes it one of the most affordable cities in Michigan. However, nearby East Lansing is actually one of the richest cities in the state.

  • Where is the most expensive house in Michigan?

    Charlevoix, MI has the most expensive home in Michigan listed for sale on realtor.com. This 7 bedroom/10 bathroom, 16,000 sq ft house located on the far northern shore of Lake Charlevoix has a list price of $10,900,000. The runner-up is a 23,000 sq ft mansion located in Bloomfield Hills.