10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Michigan For 2019


We used science and data to determine which cities in Michigan that will put a big dent in your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the most expensive places to live in Michigan.

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Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and Michigan does this very well. Families love the Wolverine State’s beaches, midlands, and mountains as tourists before moving here and calling it home.

But before you decide to relocate, you have to do some research into the exact cost of living around the state — and that’s how we’re going to help you.

These are the places in Michigan that cost a pretty penny — the most expensive cities in the state.

After we saved up for months and could finally afford it, we landed on this list of the ten most expensive cities in Michigan for 2019.

So where is the most expensive place to live in Michigan? That would be East Lansing.

So hopefully Ishpeming (the cheapest place to live in Michigan) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

And if you already knew these places were expensive, check out some more reading about Michigan and the most expensive cities in the country:

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Michigan For 2019

East Lansing, MI

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 48,281
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.8x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 40.3x (11th most expensive)
More on East Lansing: Real Estate | Data | Photos

East Lansing is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan directly east of Lansing, the state capital. Most of the city is within Ingham County, with the rest in Clinton County. The population was 48,579 at the 2010 census, an increase from 46,420 in 2000. It is best known as the home of Michigan State University.

The median income in East Lansing comes in at $37,433 and the median home value is $181,100 for 2019.

Houghton, MI

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 7,882
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.0x (1st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 39.4x (9th most expensive)
More on Houghton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Houghton is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and largest city in the Copper Country on the Keweenaw Peninsula. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 7,708. It is the county seat of Houghton County. It has been listed as one of the “100 Best Small Towns in America.”

The median income in Houghton comes in at $28,418 and the median home value is $141,900 for 2019.

Ann Arbor, MI

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 119,303
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.4x (5th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 52.5x (44th most expensive)
More on Ann Arbor: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Ann Arbor is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the county seat of Washtenaw County. The 2010 census recorded its population to be 113,934, making it the sixth largest city in Michigan.

The median income in Ann Arbor comes in at $61,247 and the median home value is $271,600 for 2019.

Ypsilanti, MI

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 20,804
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.8x (11th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 46.0x (19th most expensive)
More on Ypsilanti: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Ypsilanti, commonly shortened to Ypsi, is a city in Washtenaw County in the U.S. state of Michigan, perhaps best known as the home of Eastern Michigan University. As of the 2017 census, the city’s population was 21,018. The city is bounded to the north by Superior Township and on the west, south, and east by Ypsilanti Township. Ypsilanti is located 6 miles east of Ann Arbor and about 18 miles west of the Detroit city limits.

The median income in Ypsilanti comes in at $35,896 and the median home value is $136,700 for 2019.

Marquette, MI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 21,081
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.4x (6th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 54.5x (50th most expensive)
More on Marquette: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Marquette is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the county seat of Marquette County. The population was 21,355 at the 2010 census, making it the largest city of the state’s Upper Peninsula. Marquette is a major port on Lake Superior, known primarily for shipping iron ore, and is the home of Northern Michigan University. In 2012, Marquette was listed among the 10 best places to retire in the U.S. by CBS MoneyWatch.

The median income in Marquette comes in at $38,998 and the median home value is $172,900 for 2019.

Mount Pleasant, MI

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 25,711
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.8x (10th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 46.4x (21st most expensive)
More on Mount Pleasant: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Mount Pleasant is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the county seat of Isabella County, located in Central Michigan. The population was 26,016 at the 2010 census.

The median income in Mount Pleasant comes in at $34,316 and the median home value is $131,900 for 2019.

Petoskey, MI

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 5,696
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.8x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 58.4x (68th most expensive)
More on Petoskey: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Petoskey is a city and coastal resort community in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 5,670 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Emmet County.

The median income in Petoskey comes in at $37,639 and the median home value is $178,900 for 2019.

Traverse City, MI

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 15,550
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.1x (9th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 61.3x (75th most expensive)
More on Traverse City: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Traverse City is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is the county seat of Grand Traverse County, although a small portion extends into Leelanau County. It is the largest city in the 21-county Northern Michigan region. The population was 14,674 at the 2010 census, with 143,372 in the Traverse City micropolitan area.

The median income in Traverse City comes in at $53,237 and the median home value is $216,800 for 2019.

Howell, MI

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 9,514
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.3x (17th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 54.9x (53rd most expensive)
More on Howell: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Howell is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 9,489. It is the county seat of Livingston County and is located mostly within Howell Township, but is politically independent from Howell Township. The city is part of the South Lyon-Howell-Brighton Urban Area.

The median income in Howell comes in at $47,252 and the median home value is $157,600 for 2019.

Brighton, MI

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,567
Rank Last Year: 23 (Up 13)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.3x (15th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 59.8x (70th most expensive)
More on Brighton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Brighton is a suburb in metro Detroit located in the southeast portion of Livingston County in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 7,444. Brighton forms part of the South Lyon-Howell-Brighton Urban Area. It is one of two incorporated cities in Livingston County, and incorporates land that was once part of Brighton, Green Oak and Genoa townships.

The median income in Brighton comes in at $55,530 and the median home value is $185,500 for 2019.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Wolverine State For 2019

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Michigan
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it’s actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2013-2017 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Michigan to figure out which is the most expensive.

What you are left with is a “Cost of Living Index” by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 148 places in Michigan that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in Michigan according to the data is East Lansing.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In Michigan For 2019

Well there you have it, the places in Michigan that have the highest cost of living, with East Lansing ranking as the most expensive city in the Wolverine State.

Here’s a look at the most affordable cities in Michigan according to the data:

  1. Ishpeming
  2. Iron Mountain
  3. Center Line

For more Michigan reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In Michigan

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 East Lansing 12.67 48,281 4.8x 40.3x
2 Houghton 19.0 7,882 5.0x 39.4x
3 Ann Arbor 20.0 119,303 4.4x 52.5x
4 Ypsilanti 26.67 20,804 3.8x 46.0x
5 Marquette 28.0 21,081 4.4x 54.5x
6 Mount Pleasant 28.5 25,711 3.8x 46.4x
7 Petoskey 32.33 5,696 4.8x 58.4x
8 Traverse City 34.0 15,550 4.1x 61.3x
9 Howell 36.0 9,514 3.3x 54.9x
10 Brighton 36.33 7,567 3.3x 59.8x
11 Big Rapids 39.33 10,413 3.7x 42.9x
12 Wixom 45.33 13,777 4.6x 73.0x
13 Farmington Hills 45.67 81,235 3.0x 68.1x
14 Walled Lake 46.0 7,174 2.6x 49.5x
15 Birmingham 46.33 20,836 4.1x 81.0x
16 Novi 46.67 58,835 3.3x 72.3x
17 Grand Rapids 47.0 195,355 2.7x 52.0x
18 Zeeland 49.67 5,584 2.9x 56.0x
19 Grosse Pointe 50.5 5,241 3.4x 82.2x
20 Rochester Hills 51.0 73,458 3.0x 73.0x
21 Rochester 51.67 12,987 4.1x 91.7x
22 Chelsea 52.33 5,169 2.8x 70.5x
23 Dearborn 52.33 95,295 2.5x 50.2x
24 Kentwood 52.67 51,154 2.7x 61.0x
25 Lapeer 53.33 8,769 2.7x 49.5x
26 Kalamazoo 54.67 75,833 2.7x 50.4x
27 Beverly Hills 54.67 10,424 3.1x 84.5x
28 Greenville 55.33 8,385 2.6x 46.9x
29 Southfield 55.33 73,228 2.4x 50.2x
30 Farmington 56.33 10,560 2.7x 68.9x
31 Sterling Heights 56.67 131,996 2.6x 65.7x
32 Huntington Woods 57.0 6,347 2.6x 72.8x
33 Plymouth 57.33 9,005 3.3x 91.2x
34 Grosse Pointe Park 57.67 11,240 3.2x 109.5x
35 Ludington 58.0 8,047 3.0x 61.8x
36 Benton Harbor 58.33 9,944 2.8x 31.6x
37 Eaton Rapids 58.67 5,191 2.7x 54.8x
38 Saline 59.33 9,160 3.3x 93.8x
39 South Lyon 59.33 11,695 2.7x 71.6x
40 Troy 59.67 83,336 2.9x 83.8x
41 St. Joseph 59.67 8,301 3.0x 73.7x
42 Fenton 59.83 11,364 2.4x 52.0x
43 Northville 60.0 5,998 3.0x 97.7x
44 Richmond 62.0 5,871 3.2x 80.1x
45 Walker 62.67 24,618 2.8x 73.5x
46 Auburn Hills 63.0 22,644 2.3x 57.1x
47 Rockford 63.33 6,132 2.7x 73.1x
48 East Grand Rapids 64.17 11,493 2.6x 84.1x
49 Royal Oak 65.33 58,973 2.6x 75.5x
50 Milford 65.33 6,449 2.9x 107.4x
51 Grand Blanc 65.67 7,964 2.8x 76.4x
52 Niles 66.0 11,332 2.5x 49.2x
53 Alma 67.33 9,108 2.5x 52.9x
54 Warren 67.67 135,147 2.2x 51.8x
55 Manistee 68.33 6,079 2.7x 62.5x
56 Hillsdale 68.67 8,170 2.5x 54.8x
57 Grosse Pointe Woods 69.0 15,678 2.1x 67.0x
58 Holland 69.0 33,488 2.4x 65.0x
59 New Baltimore 69.67 12,315 2.7x 110.9x
60 Westland 70.33 82,172 2.3x 55.0x
61 Grandville 71.33 15,902 2.6x 76.6x
62 Hudsonville 72.0 7,335 2.4x 69.0x
63 Charlotte 72.0 9,062 2.4x 60.4x
64 Clawson 72.33 12,006 2.5x 74.9x
65 Portage 73.33 48,072 2.6x 79.6x
66 Grand Haven 73.67 10,929 2.5x 69.0x
67 Livonia 73.67 94,708 2.3x 72.6x
68 Riverview 74.33 12,192 2.5x 72.1x
69 St. Johns 74.33 7,894 2.5x 68.9x
70 Muskegon 74.67 38,189 2.2x 43.3x
71 Grosse Pointe Farms 75.0 9,238 2.3x 83.2x
72 Berkley 75.33 15,269 2.2x 72.9x
73 Hamtramck 76.33 21,959 2.2x 36.3x
74 Dearborn Heights 77.0 56,201 2.0x 48.3x
75 Ferndale 77.0 20,159 2.1x 62.6x
76 Fraser 77.0 14,616 2.4x 70.5x
77 Norton Shores 78.17 24,234 2.2x 61.7x
78 Ionia 78.33 11,253 2.2x 53.0x
79 Midland 78.5 41,958 2.4x 79.1x
80 Tecumseh 78.67 8,351 2.4x 68.0x
81 Marshall 79.67 7,016 2.3x 66.6x
82 Escanaba 79.67 12,364 2.5x 62.0x
83 Mount Clemens 80.67 16,383 2.2x 55.0x
84 Highland Park 80.67 10,955 2.1x 25.4x
85 Monroe 81.33 20,128 2.3x 67.4x
86 Allegan 81.33 5,027 2.1x 56.5x
87 Port Huron 82.33 29,285 2.1x 49.4x
88 Dowagiac 82.33 5,812 2.2x 52.0x
89 Woodhaven 82.5 12,565 2.4x 82.9x
90 St. Clair Shores 83.0 59,865 2.0x 58.2x
91 Grand Ledge 83.67 7,799 2.3x 74.0x
92 St. Clair 83.67 5,375 2.4x 86.4x
93 Madison Heights 84.0 30,173 2.0x 52.5x
94 Kingsford 84.67 5,044 2.3x 64.2x
95 Sturgis 85.5 10,861 2.1x 53.3x
96 Sault Ste. Marie 86.0 13,798 2.2x 60.3x
97 Lansing 86.17 115,222 2.0x 48.9x
98 Milan 86.33 5,965 2.1x 75.1x
99 Mason 87.0 8,387 2.1x 66.6x
100 Jackson 87.33 32,875 2.0x 47.0x

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.