Lowest median housing costs concentrated in Detroit, surrounding communities

In Michigan, the median monthly housing cost in 2013 was $882, but in the Southeastern Michigan region that cost ranged from about $3,000 a month in areas of Oakland County to about $360 a month in areas of Wayne County.

In the map below we see that Detroit, some of the inner-ring suburbs, and areas along major highways (I-94, I-96) had the highest concentration of median monthly housing costs below that of the state’s in 2013. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the areas with the highest median monthly housing costs were primarily located throughout Oakland County (Bloomfield, Birmingham, etc.) and Washtenaw County (Ann Arbor, Dexter, Lyndon Township).

According to the 2013 American Community Survey, which provided the data for this post, the median monthly housing costs were calculated by dividing “the monthly housing costs distribution into two equal parts: one-half of the cases falling below the median monthly housing costs and one-half above the median. Medians are shown separately for units ‘with a mortgage’ and for units ‘not mortgaged.’ Median monthly housing costs [were] computed on the basis of a standard distribution.”

SE Michigan

In taking a closer look at the tri-county region, we see that 679 census tracts had a median monthly housing cost below $882 in 2013. And, while this trend spanned out into the southern portion of Macomb County (Warren-Eastpointe areas) and southwest of Detroit, there were only about a handful of census tracts in the portion of Oakland County that borders Wayne County where the median monthly housing cost was $882 or less. These areas in southern Oakland County are located in the Hazel Park-Ferndale-Oak Park area.


Detroit had the largest number of census tracts where the median housing cost per month was at or below the state average of $882 in 2013. There was one census tract in Detroit (Palmer Woods area) where the monthly median housing was nearly double the state average (this tract includes Palmer Woods).

As seen below, median housing costs of $882 and below also spanned into the central portion of Wayne County, in areas such as Inkster, Dearborn and Romulus. With the exception of Sumpter Township, the most western portions of Wayne County had median monthly housing costs of $883 and more. Areas such as Northville and Canton had amongst the highest median housing costs in the county, ranging between $2,001 and $2,709. The only other area in the county with such high median housing costs were the Grosse Pointes.

This week, we took a look at overall median housing costs in region. In the following weeks, we will begin to explore what percentage of an individual’s income goes toward their rent or mortgage.


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