One year ago this month, I moved from Brighton, Michigan to White Lake, Michigan, and this has been my experience so far.
I am going to touch on my one year experience since moving to White Lake Michigan from Brighton and how different the two cities are, but before I do, if you haven’t seen it already, I made a video a year ago about White Lake that includes a driving tour, cheapest home, most expensive home, new construction homes, attractions, resident reviews, and a market report, along with a video about buying my lake home from start to finish followed by my endless videos about Brighton. So if that interests you, I’ll link them below:
→Living In Brighton: https://youtu.be/H1M9RkiuUfE
→Cost Of Living In Brighton: https://youtu.be/wCvuI4QSWTw
→5 Reasons To Live In Brighton: https://youtu.be/B5Kc5oII6qM
→Brighton’s Best Coffee: https://youtu.be/6BaA28lukeA
→Dream Lake: https://youtu.be/mDViW2j28B0
Here’s a little backstory to kickstart this blog. I have lived in Brighton, Michigan from the day I was born until a year ago. My (now) Fiance and I made the move out of Brighton into a little lake house in White Lake. One of the biggest things that I have found that is lacking, and of course is very much based on preference, is the downtown area. Brighton is known to have a close knit and amazing downtown area, whereas White Lake has the M59 corridor. I have said in previous videos that this strip has everything you could ever need and more, but it’s a 4 line road at times going upwards of 55 miles per hour, and that isn’t the criteria for a walkable downtown area. It’s not the end of the world, since the biggest appeal for us was the fact that the home is on a lake, so where the downtown lacks, it’s made up a little bit here.
Another thing I noticed jumping from Brighton to White Lake, is the driving difference. If you have ever been to Brighton, specifically off US-23 near Lee Road right next to the Green Oak Village Place, you know there are gigantic roundabouts that intimidate anyone not familiar with them, and with that being said, I almost feel Brighton drivers are better because of it. Yes, there are a lot of times where accidents have almost happened, but In White Lake, I’ve had way too many close calls for comfort, and I have no idea why that is. I know it’s not White Lake specific, but some days it really feels like it.
If you’re familiar with the geographic location of White Lake, you’d know it’s pretty smack dab in the middle of a lot of lakes depending on what side of the city you’re located in. I’ve noticed it really is a lake town, people are more relaxed, there’s bathing suits, flip flops, tops off jeeps, someone always towing a boat, jet skis, etc. It creates a more relaxed and close knit community in a sense, as I have made quite a few good relationships with not only people on my lake, but other nearby ones as well. It almost feels like this little getaway spot no one tells you about. People are launching their boats in the middle of the day, tubing, wakeboarding, fishing, and I can’t help it when I drive by some of these lakes.
I ask myself if these people even work! It’s the same situation in the winter too, from ice fishing, snowmobiling, and of course utilizing the Alpine Valley Ski hill right down the road. It’s definitely a change in scenery from Brighton to White Lake, and if you’re someone in an incredibly busy and traffic heavy metro area that you’re beyond sick of, I think you’d enjoy this. Granted, the traffic is increasing a little bit in White Lake, maybe they all saw my White Lake video and ran over here as soon as possible. On the plus side, there are plans to put in a few roundabouts over the years from what I hear, to keep the traffic moving forward, which would be a huge plus, because in any lake community, roads tend to wind around all of these different lakes, so helping the commute a little bit, would be a huge plus.
Let’s talk about traffic real quick in comparison to Brighton. In Brighton, Grand River tends to be one of the main veins to get from point A to B, so during rush hour it can be a pain in the you know what to get to where you’re going, but on the other hand, White Lake Township has so many different school districts such as: Clarkston Community Schools, Holly Area Schools, Huron Valley Schools, Walled Lake Community School District, and Waterford Community Schools that has bus traffic, parent pick up and drop off traffic, so if you’re driving during the school drop off and pick up times, you could find yourself waiting for a little white. Most times, lines of cars tend to form on the side of the road to keep traffic moving.
A lot of people think that White Lake is smaller than Brighton, but in terms of their townships, White Lake Twp is about 37 square miles and Brighton twp is just over 34 square miles, so they have a relatively similar size, but it’s the population difference that’s pretty surprising. White Lake Twp has a population of over 32,000 people. Brighton Twp has a little less than 20,000 people. There’s a few reasons for that, White lake is more affordable than Brighton (unless you buy a home on a lake).
Taking a look at this graph real quick provided by the multiple listing service, it shows the median sale price in White lake twp versus Brighton twp. In July 2022, White Lake twp had a median sales price of $350,000, which was a 7.2% increase from a year ago, whereas Brighton twp had a median sale price of $435,000, a 16% increase from a year ago. You can get a house for $85,000 less in White Lake Twp, so it’s safe to say it’s quite a bit more affordable. On top of that, you can get a lake house in White Lake for under $300,000 (depending on the size and condition of course). A Lake home in Brighton, can be 600, 700, 800 thousand dollars to well over a million.
Another reason, the population is lower in Brighton versus white lake is due to the greenery. Brighton is known for their trees and has actually received the award for Tree City USA, due to all the trees around the city. Trees take up some space, so shoving more people in that area would be hard to do. Yes, it can be said the same for the lakes in White Lake twp, but it’s much easier to pile a ton of people on .15 acre lots around a lake, no matter how much space the lake takes up.
LAKE LIVING VS.NOT
In terms of lake living vs. not. I’ll link another video below about a recent video I made about finding your dream lake in Michigan, as it touches on lake living just a little bit. It was eye opening at first, I thought you could just sit back and enjoy the view off the back patio, but unfortunately that view comes with a little maintenance. From raking the lake, fighting off the geese to keep them from crapping all over your yard, to eroding land and dock maintenance. So if you’re wanting to get yourself in a lake home, keep those few things in mind.
When it comes to proximity and location, I have found White Lake twp. to be a little more convenient in that department. Of course, it depends heavily on where you’re located in the city, but for my personal situation, the amenities are much closer to me here than they were in Brighton, and I lived very close to businesses and the expressway. With M59, being such a large corridor, there’s often more variety. So if you’re wanting to do some home improvement, there’s Lowe’s, Home Depot, Walmart, ace hardware, very close to each other, where there’s much more space in Brighton for that. For example, If you wanted to go to Lowe’s or Walmart living in Brighton, you’d have to travel over to Howell.
It isn’t the end of the world obviously, but just a little more travel involved. On the other hand, being as I drive all over the state of Michigan, living in Brighton was a little more convenient for commuting form city to city since the expressway onramp was so closeby, where is White Lake, you have to take quite a few roads, before you can hop onto an expressway, and I believe for me it’s about 15-20 minutes before I do. But that was one of the tradeoffs we accepted when getting a lake home in White Lake.
Another thing I wish I would’ve taken into account a little more is the neighborhood. In Brighton, I was in a subdivision where you could go around the block twice and it would be a mile, so for exercise purposes, walking the dog, etc. It was convenient to track and was a very nice thing to have. Here in White Lake, the neighborhood isn’t one big loop around the lake due to some other intersecting streets and some agricultural land that stops the road from going right through. So I find myself having to do a lot of circling and turning around in the neighborhood when walking around, or we go into some other nearby neighborhood or park down the road. Again, not a huge issue, but having some flow to the neighborhood would’ve been a nice plus.
For those of you that are curious, what other questions about this one year experience do you have? Drop your questions in the comments below.
Andrew McManamon is a licensed Real Estate Professional in the great state of Michigan. His philosophy to put people first has paved the way to his extraordinary real estate career. Born and raised in Brighton, MI, Andrew acquired a bachelors degree in business management and marketing from Cleary University in Howell, MI. The combination of his experience and education allows him to take a strategic approach towards every transaction and help his clients make more informed and confident decisions.