According to the Census Bureau, a housing unit is owner-occupied if the owner or co-owner lives in the unit, even if it is mortgaged or not fully paid for. In the seven county Southeastern Michigan region in 2012, the mean owner-occupied percentage was 74.1 percent. At that time, the counties in the region with a percentage of owner occupied homes above the region’s total average were: Livingston, Macomb, Monroe and St. Clair counties. Livingston County had the highest percentage at 85.9 percent; this was also the only county where the percentage of owner-occupied homes was above 80 percent.
In the seven county region, Washtenaw County, which is home to the University of Michigan, had the lowest percentage of owner-occupied homes. Uof M is the largest university in the region, enrolling about 47,000 students on an annual basis. With such a large student population, it can be argued that this contributes to the city of Ann Arbor’s low owner-occupied percentage, which was 45.5 percent in 2012. Also located in Washtenaw County is the charter township of Ypsilanti, which houses Eastern Michigan University and has a lower income population residing within the township. Both these attributes likely play a role in the owner occupied housing percentage of 58.9 percent in Ypsilanti.
Wayne County had the second lowest percentage at 65.6 percent.
The above map shows the percentage of owner-occupied housing in the tri-county region in 2012. The lower income communities, such as Detroit and the cities of Mount Clemens and Pontiac, were below the regional mean for owner occupied percentage. In contrast, the wealthier communities (like Grosse Ile, Livonia and the Grosse Pointes) and the more rural communities (like the northern half of Macomb County and the southwest portion of Wayne County) have a much higher percentage of owner occupied housing.
To see the median income of communities throughout the Southeast Michigan click here.
Note that in the downtown area of Detroit, primarily along Woodward Avenue, there is a very low owner occupied housing percentage, below 25 percent. This is because there are dozens of rental housing units along, and in the vicinity of Woodward Avenue, in which owners of the units are more likely to lease out the properties. In the far north of the city, near Palmer Park, an area where the owner occupied housing percentage is below 25 percent appears to be mainly the actual park and cemetery.