The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Michigan For 2021


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

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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the most expensive places to live in Michigan.

If you're about to move to the Wolverine State but want to avoid living in an outrageously expensive city, you're in the right place. We've done the research to discover which places in Michigan are the most expensive to live in.

While big Michigan cities like Detroit and Grand Rapids may be the first to come to mind, they actually aren't among the most expensive cities in the state. In fact, Michigan's priciest places are fairly well distributed throughout the state. Ann Arbor and some its surrounding cities make up a big chunk of this list, but there are also a few on Michigan's Upper Peninsula, like Houghton, and a handful in Michigan's mitten, like Traverse City. Wherever you are on this list geographically, it's a safe bet that life's going to be a bit tougher economically.

So how much money should you have in the piggy bank if you want to hang with the elite in these hyper-expenive Michigan cities? Earning at least $23,135/year oughta keep you from going bust in any of these places. If you want to compete with Michigan's native son Larry Page, you'll have to earn substantially more. Just invent the world's most popular search engine -- easy!

Get ready to swap stock tips with Michigan's many billionaires, because we're heading to the most expensive places to live in the Wolverine State.

Here are the 10 most expensive places to live in Michigan for 2021:

  1. East Lansing
  2. Ann Arbor
  3. Houghton
  4. Howell
  5. Ypsilanti
  6. Marquette
  7. Brighton
  8. Traverse City
  9. Mount Pleasant
  10. Southfield

What's the most expensive place to live in Michigan? Well, HomeSnacks crunched the numbers and discovered that East Lansing is the most expensive place to live in Michigan.

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 2021

1. East LansingEast Lansing, MI

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 48,729
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.8x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 41.9x (13th most expensive)
More on East Lansing: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in East Lansing comes in at $39,867 and the median home value is $192,800 for 2021.

2. Ann ArborAnn Arbor, MI

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 120,735
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.9x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 53.1x (38th most expensive)
More on Ann Arbor: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Ann Arbor comes in at $65,745 and the median home value is $323,400 for 2021.

3. HoughtonHoughton, MI

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,870
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.7x (most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 34.8x (3rd most expensive)
More on Houghton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Houghton comes in at $23,135 and the median home value is $155,600 for 2021.

4. HowellHowell, MI

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 9,580
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.7x (12th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 50.6x (30th most expensive)
More on Howell: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Howell comes in at $46,341 and the median home value is $171,100 for 2021.

5. YpsilantiYpsilanti, MI

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 20,828
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.8x (10th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 46.1x (19th most expensive)
More on Ypsilanti: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Ypsilanti comes in at $39,332 and the median home value is $151,300 for 2021.

6. MarquetteMarquette, MI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 20,822
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.3x (7th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 55.3x (47th most expensive)
More on Marquette: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Marquette comes in at $43,977 and the median home value is $187,300 for 2021.

7. BrightonBrighton, MI

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,649
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.4x (15th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 59.3x (59th most expensive)
More on Brighton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Brighton comes in at $63,136 and the median home value is $211,600 for 2021.

8. Traverse CityTraverse City, MI

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 15,570
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.7x (5th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 63.1x (78th most expensive)
More on Traverse City: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Traverse City comes in at $57,076 and the median home value is $266,100 for 2021.

9. Mount PleasantMount Pleasant, MI

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 25,629
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.7x (13th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 50.0x (28th most expensive)
More on Mount Pleasant: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Mount Pleasant comes in at $37,714 and the median home value is $137,700 for 2021.

10. SouthfieldSouthfield, MI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 73,174
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.8x (4most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 49.5x (26th most expensive)
More on Southfield: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Southfield comes in at $55,705 and the median home value is $155,700 for 2021.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Wolverine State For 2021

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 2015-2019 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 147 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. You can download the data here.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In Michigan For 2021

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. Alpena

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 14.67 48,729 4.8x 41.9x
2 Ann Arbor 16.67 120,735 4.9x 53.1x
3 Houghton 18.67 7,870 6.7x 34.8x
4 Howell 27.17 9,580 3.7x 50.6x
5 Ypsilanti 27.83 20,828 3.8x 46.1x
6 Marquette 29.33 20,822 4.3x 55.3x
7 Brighton 32.67 7,649 3.4x 59.3x
8 Traverse City 32.67 15,570 4.7x 63.1x
9 Mount Pleasant 36.33 25,629 3.7x 50.0x
10 Southfield 39.33 73,174 2.8x 49.5x
11 Big Rapids 41.33 10,355 3.6x 39.1x
12 Wixom 41.67 13,902 4.7x 71.5x
13 Petoskey 41.67 5,724 3.9x 63.2x
14 Walled Lake 43.33 7,173 2.8x 50.4x
15 Novi 44.0 60,014 3.3x 72.8x
16 Birmingham 45.33 21,201 4.4x 81.2x
17 Grand Rapids 46.33 198,401 2.9x 54.2x
18 Kentwood 46.33 51,693 2.9x 60.3x
19 Farmington Hills 46.67 81,214 3.1x 71.1x
20 Sterling Heights 47.83 132,476 2.9x 63.3x
21 Rochester Hills 48.0 74,206 3.1x 73.0x
22 Rochester 48.67 13,162 4.1x 86.0x
23 Huntington Woods 49.0 6,322 2.7x 67.7x
24 Dearborn 49.67 94,701 2.7x 52.5x
25 Lapeer 53.33 8,676 2.9x 52.3x
26 Zeeland 53.5 5,572 2.9x 60.9x
27 Plymouth 54.33 9,124 3.7x 95.4x
28 Grosse Pointe 54.67 5,206 3.3x 91.9x
29 Saline 55.67 9,251 3.3x 82.2x
30 Auburn Hills 56.33 23,572 2.5x 57.5x
31 Troy 57.0 83,989 3.0x 83.9x
32 Farmington 57.33 10,563 2.8x 72.3x
33 Allegan 57.67 5,036 2.7x 54.8x
34 Beverly Hills 57.67 10,387 3.0x 102.9x
35 Greenville 57.67 8,396 2.9x 53.2x
36 St. Joseph 58.33 8,316 3.1x 80.6x
37 Benton Harbor 58.33 9,843 2.9x 34.0x
38 Grosse Pointe Park 58.67 11,153 3.1x 103.9x
39 Milford 59.0 6,499 3.3x 100.3x
40 Chelsea 60.67 5,331 2.8x 77.3x
41 South Lyon 61.0 11,788 2.6x 70.2x
42 Eaton Rapids 61.0 5,231 2.8x 57.9x
43 Warren 61.5 134,797 2.5x 52.8x
44 Northville 61.67 6,007 2.9x 103.9x
45 Royal Oak 62.0 59,195 2.8x 75.7x
46 Richmond 62.67 5,869 3.1x 84.9x
47 Rockford 63.5 6,254 2.9x 77.6x
48 Holland 63.83 33,402 2.7x 65.3x
49 Kalamazoo 64.0 76,019 2.6x 52.5x
50 Frankenmuth 65.0 5,274 3.1x 92.9x
51 Clawson 65.33 11,971 2.6x 72.6x
52 Dearborn Heights 66.0 55,857 2.3x 47.5x
53 New Baltimore 66.33 12,358 2.9x 104.9x
54 Hamtramck 66.67 21,822 2.6x 37.3x
55 East Grand Rapids 67.33 11,759 2.6x 95.9x
56 Oak Park 67.67 29,726 2.2x 47.0x
57 Flat Rock 67.83 9,967 2.6x 68.9x
58 Grand Haven 68.0 10,994 2.8x 75.1x
59 Walker 69.0 24,816 2.7x 76.7x
60 Madison Heights 69.33 30,120 2.3x 55.3x
61 Grosse Pointe Woods 69.67 15,498 2.3x 72.9x
62 Highland Park 70.0 10,867 2.5x 31.0x
63 Monroe 70.17 19,775 2.6x 62.8x
64 Westland 70.33 81,938 2.4x 56.7x
65 Ludington 71.0 8,069 2.7x 68.1x
66 Portage 71.33 48,774 2.6x 75.0x
67 Grosse Pointe Farms 72.67 9,168 2.5x 101.3x
68 Livonia 73.0 94,249 2.4x 74.4x
69 Fenton 73.33 11,375 2.3x 61.2x
70 Hudsonville 73.67 7,366 2.4x 69.2x
71 Sault Ste. Marie 73.67 13,591 2.4x 54.9x
72 Niles 74.0 11,211 2.5x 54.3x
73 Grand Blanc 74.5 7,905 2.7x 90.7x
74 Grandville 75.0 15,942 2.6x 76.8x
75 Mount Clemens 75.33 16,315 2.4x 57.7x
76 Riverview 76.33 12,137 2.6x 73.3x
77 Wyoming 76.67 75,702 2.4x 62.4x
78 Woodhaven 76.67 12,518 2.5x 76.4x
79 Ferndale 77.33 20,137 2.3x 69.6x
80 Mason 77.67 8,487 2.3x 61.7x
81 Port Huron 77.67 29,025 2.2x 49.8x
82 Berkley 80.0 15,372 2.3x 77.9x
83 St. Clair Shores 80.0 59,528 2.2x 61.8x
84 Marshall 80.67 6,998 2.5x 69.6x
85 Fraser 80.83 14,580 2.5x 76.2x
86 Hillsdale 81.0 8,097 2.4x 60.0x
87 Muskegon 81.0 37,633 2.3x 45.9x
88 Milan 81.67 6,107 2.4x 77.5x
89 Alma 83.67 8,976 2.3x 55.6x
90 Manistee 83.67 6,083 2.4x 65.7x
91 Garden City 84.67 26,683 2.0x 54.6x
92 Norton Shores 85.67 24,467 2.2x 67.4x
93 Adrian 85.67 20,572 2.1x 48.8x
94 Grand Ledge 86.33 7,842 2.4x 75.0x
95 Pontiac 87.33 59,955 2.0x 41.2x
96 Hazel Park 88.33 16,525 1.9x 39.8x
97 Lansing 88.67 117,159 2.0x 50.9x
98 Battle Creek 89.0 51,316 2.0x 56.1x
99 Belding 89.0 5,718 2.2x 60.4x
100 Midland 89.0 41,920 2.4x 81.0x

How Is The Area In ?

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.