Finding a home that meets your needs without breaking the bank can be a serious challenge. State-wide, Michigan has a median home value of $162,600. When you add in maintenance costs and property taxes, it can be difficult for many to buy and own a home.
That's why we've compiled a list of affordable cities in Michigan to help you find a new place to live. All of these places are more affordable than average, meaning you can get more bang for your buck.
Looking for the most affordable places in Michigan is a start, but you'll save even more money by working with a great agent.
The top Michigan real estate agents know the local market and where to find pockets of more affordable homes. They can also help negotiate a better price when you do find your dream home.
At Clever Real Estate, we can match you with agents in any area you're interested in — even multiple areas at the same time. You can interview as many agents as you like until you find the perfect place to call home — all at no cost or obligation to you.
Most affordable cities in Michigan
Whether you're looking for a quiet small town or a trendy suburban neighborhood, it's possible to locate pockets of affordability throughout Michigan.
Here are our top picks for Michigan residents on a budget:
1. Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor isn’t just one of the most affordable places to live, it’s also a clear favorite. The city is home to about 116,000 residents, a healthy economy, and an affordable housing market. The University of Michigan is located here, which is a driving force behind the city’s culture and economy. Many tech companies have sprouted in close proximity to the university, which is also a major research institution.
Home values have skyrocketed in recent years, jumping 8.7% since last year alone. The median home value is $382,700, but the town still remains one of the most affordable cities in Michigan. Being a large college town, there are tons of free festivals each year, along with activities and points of interest that add to the quality of life without spending a dime.
Midland’s green spaces, arts scene, and highly-rated education system are obvious reasons why people love living in Midland. The city is a mecca for sports lovers, including BMX, tennis, golf, hockey, and even curling. Major employers like the Dow Chemical Company are firmly rooted here and continually contribute to the community’s growth and quality of life.
The housing market lends to the city’s affordability. The median home value is just $140,000, nearly $80K below the national average. For comparison, Midlands median household income is $58,910, which is about $200 under the national median, so your money definitely goes further here.
Even after you've found a more affordable place to live in Michigan, moving there can be expensive. By working with a Clever Partner Agent, you'll have an expert in your corner and you may be able to take advantage of Clever Cash Back.
When you buy a home with a Clever agent, you might be eligible for up to 0.5% cash back to use on anything you want. For the average home value of $162,600, you'd pocket $813 to help you move (or splurge on a great housewarming gift for yourself).
This Dutch-rooted city in Michigan boasts the only authentic Dutch windmill in the country, but that’s not its biggest draw. The city’s waterfront makes it a prime destination for watersports enthusiasts, fishermen, and beachgoers, along with tourists who want to see the iconic “Big Red” lighthouse. The scenery alone is enough of a magnet to attract newcomers to the area.
The median home value in Holland is $197,400, which is impressive given its location on Lake Michigan. Holland is currently experiencing a seller’s market, which can result in higher selling prices for homes, but values are still well below the national average.
Niche.com rated Okemos as the #1 best place to live in Michigan for 2019, and it’s easy to see why. This little city hosts about 22,000 residents and is an ideal place to live for families with young kids, thanks to a top-notch school system. The area also caters to families and their kids in the form of walking trails, safe parks, nature center, fishing ponds, and other recreational activities.
While the median home value is about $250,000, the money you spend gives you a lot of house. It’s not uncommon to shell out this much for a sizeable mansion with land, so there’s plenty of value built into the market.
Many people are surprised to learn that Lansing, no Detroit, is the capital of Michigan. But what’s even more surprising is the affordable housing market in the capital city. The median home value is just $87,600, making it one of the most affordable big cities in the country.
And because the city is home to multiple government buildings, colleges and universities, and automotive manufacturing, the economy remains healthy and projects a positive outlook for future home values.
The benefits of a great real estate agent
If you're just researching affordable places to live, you might wonder why you need a real estate agent. They're the ones that help you once you've already decided on a house, right?
Not necessarily. The truth is, it's never too early to start looking for an agent. In fact, talking to a realtor early on in the process can help you narrow down your options much faster than doing research on your own.
A real estate agent's job is to know everything about their local area. They'll find the best deals in desirable neighborhoods — and might just help you snag your dream home for an affordable price. Let a Clever agent help you discover your options today — all while you enjoy 0.5% cash back!
Frequently asked questions about affordable places to live in Michigan
In addition to shopping in some of the most affordable areas, you'll want to work with an experienced real estate agent. They can find you hidden gems at low price points. A good agent can also negotiate like a pro to get you a lower sale price and more buyer incentives. You may also be able to take advantage of home buyer rebates.
We recommend using the 28/36 rule to know how much house you can afford. This means your housing expenses shouldn't exceed 28% of your income, and all of your total debt shouldn't exceed 36%. Learn more about how to calculate your home buying budget.