The $100K Home May Soon be a Dream of the Past in Southeastern Michigan

Housing prices continue to soar in the Metro-Detroit region, and beyond.  According to the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, the average price of single-family dwellings sold was $154,160 in July of 2021; this was $1,560 higher than the average family dwelling price in June. Furthermore, the July 2021 price was an increase of $21,700 from July of 2020 and $56,030 from July of 2014. This means, that the average single-family dwelling was being sold for under $100,000 in 2014. The data below shows how pressed a homebuyer would be to find a home for such a price in 2019 (most recent American Community Survey), meaning it is even more difficult today.

According to the 2019 ACS data, Wayne County had the highest percentage of owner-occupied units that were valued at less than $100,000 at 44.8 percent. The percentage of owner-occupied homes valued at less than $100,000 available in Wayne County in 2019 was 24 percent less than what was available five years prior (2014). Wayne County experienced the smallest decline in owner-occupied units valued at less than $100,000, while Oakland County experienced the largest. In 2019, 12.5 percent of the owner-occupied units in Oakland County were valued at less than $100,000. That number is a 47 percent decrease in the percentage of owner-occupied units valued at less than $100,000 in 2014—five years prior.

While Oakland County had the largest decline in the percentage of owner-occupied units valued at less than $100,000 between 2014 and 2019, it was Livingston County that had the smallest percentage of owner-occupied units valued at less than $100,000 both in 2014 and 2019. In 2019, 8 percent of Livingston County’s owner-occupied housing stock was valued at less than $100,000 and in 2014 it was 14 percent (still the lowest in the region).

Overall, the data shows some of what we already know—particularly that housing prices continue to increase, and at a more rapid rate than in previous years. However, we also know that wages are not increasing with the rate of inflation, and for many, with the rate of increased home prices. As affordable housing continues to remain an issue, it is important to understand where those gaps are also growing at an increased rate. The data shows that, regionally, Wayne County had the largest percentage of homes available for under $100,000, with the number available decreasing at the slowest rate.

Percentage of Rentals on the Rise in Southeastern Michigan

Between 2010 and 2015, 72 percent of the communities in Southeastern Michigan experienced an increase in the percentage of homes that served as rentals, meaning majority of the communities experienced a decrease in residents serving as homeowners. Of those communities, there were 11 communities in Southeastern Michigan that experienced rental rate increases above 10 percent between 2010 and 2015. The city with the largest increase was Milan, located in Monroe County, at 20.2 percent. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010 23.1 percent of the homes in Milan served as rentals and by 2015 that increased to 43.3 percent.

At the county level, Wayne County experienced the largest increase in communities that saw rental rates increase. According to the data, 93 percent of the Wayne County communities experienced an increase in rentals between 2010 and 2015. Of those Wayne County communities, Belleville experienced the highest increase at 15.1 percent. In 2010, 27.4 percent of the homes in Belleville were rentals and by 2015 that increased to 42.4 percent.

Overall, the areas of Southeastern Michigan that experienced the greatest increase in the percentage of homes serving as rentals between 2010 and 2015 were Detroit, and its inner-ring neighbors, along with the western side of Macomb County. Of the inner-ring suburbs, Harper Woods experienced the highest percentage increase in homes being rented at 13.2 percent. In 2010, 24.7 percent of the homes were rentals and by 2015 that increased to 37.9. Just below Harper Woods was the city of Ferndale, another inner-ring suburb, with an increase of 12.8 percent. In 2010, 27.5 percent of the homes in Ferndale were being rented and by 2015 that increased to 40.3 percent. Eastpointe, Utica and Roseville, all Macomb County cities, two of which neighbor Detroit, came in just below Ferndale with rental rate increases at 12.2, 11.6 and 11.3, respectively. Of these three communities, Utica, which is in the northwestern part of Macomb County, had the highest percentage of rentals in both 2010 and 2015. In 2010, 35 percent of the homes in Utica were rentals and by 2015 that increased to 46.7 percent.

Of all the communities in Southeastern Michigan, Detroit ranked 60th when examining how rental rates increased between 2010 and 2015. In 2010 the percentage of homes being rented was 45.5 and in 2015 that increased to 50.6. Within the City’s limits there were six Census Tracts that experienced rental rate increases between 25 to 52 percent. A pocket of the city’s northwest side, near Palmer Park and Rosedale Park, appears to be experiencing rental rate increases up to 25 percent. There is also a pocket on the city’s west side that is experiencing a decrease in rentals. In Southwest Detroit there are seven Census Tracts that each have experienced a decline in the percentage of rental homes by up to 22 percent; there is a similar pocket with nine Census Tracts just west of Highland Park.


As our previous posts show our region has experienced hundreds of thousands of home foreclosures from 2010 through 2014 as part of the Great Recession. In all probability most of those homeowners have become renters, assuming they have not left the region. This explains much of the shift to rental ownership, though some could come from the construction of new rental properties or the demolition of homeowner properties. The foreclosures and decline in home ownership represent a massive loss in wealth for homeowners and a massive increase in revenue for rental owners.