Ever wondered How much it costs to live in the 2nd best city in the United states? Let’s talk about Ann Arbor Michigan? That question is going to be answered, right now.
In this blog, I’ll be touching on the cost of living in Ann Arbor, not just for housing, but groceries, utilities, healthcare, and transportation. And for those of you that are interested in all things Ann Arbor, I’ll link a pros and cons video I made about the city in the description so you can add it to your queue.
I know what you might be thinking, how is Ann Arbor ranked #2 best cities to live in the whole United states? Well, livability.com has several editors and data scientists who score each important category of a city such as: amenities, economy, demographics, housing, social and civic capital, education, health care and of course transportation and infrastructure, so I suggest you stick around to hear about how much it costs to live in a top city like Ann Arbor.
Kicking this list off with housing we have this chart I’m looking at provided by the multiple listing service to show the average sale price in September 2022 of the entire MLS (in blue), Ann Arbor twp. (in green) and the city of Ann Arbor (in yellow), so if you’re listening to the audio version of this video be sure to make note of these dollar figures. Ann Arbor township comes in at just over $796,000, which is a 37.4% increase from a year ago, which is absolutely insane and by looking at this chart you can see how drastic that progression was since it grew over $180,000 since the end of 2021. The city of Ann Arbor on the other hand comes in much lower at just over $480,000 and follows a similar growth pattern to the whole MLS in general, no drastic hikes by any means, but it is still around $200,000 more than the MLS average as a whole.
And just to put a little more perspective on Ann Arbor’s housing market, I’ll include 4 homes in 4 different price points just to show you how far you can stretch your dollar in a city like Ann Arbor. Taking a look at the first home here, we have a $250,000 condo located on Kellogg street between northside and Kerrytown right next to the Huron river. This condo is obviously well below the city’s average, but offers a great location to get the full effect of downtown Ann Arbor. Granted, this little 800 square foot 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom spot with a car port and no basement, is a little tight for your average homeowner, but for 1-2 people, it’s not a bad way to live in downtown Ann Arbor. Taking a look at a few more images here, this condo is an end unit which is a plus and has a newer furnace, water heater, dishwasher, along with new carpet and paint. You also have a covered carport which is very nice to have during Michigan winters so you don’t have to head outside 20 minutes before you have to go somewhere in 30 degree weather and clean your car off and start it so it’s all warmed up for you. This is definitely a move-in ready option at an affordable price.
Taking a look at the next home on the list we have this $530,000 single family home with just under 2,000 finished square feet, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms with a two car garage and a basement on .20 fenced in acres. Located on the northside of Ann Arbor near Thurston and sugarbush park, this home has been meticulously maintained with a new roof as of 2022, and is most certainly move-in ready for a larger group of people. No, it’s not right in downtown Ann Arbor, but you have much more privacy, which is something that definitely lacks when you’re closer to town and it’s only about a 14 or 15 minute drive to get to the center of downtown from this home. Another great plus to this home, as I click through these last few images and take a look at the floorplan, these are some decent room sizes, and they let in a lot of natural light.
Moving over to the 3rd option on this list, I decided to include a home that felt like a little private retreat on a little more acreage to show you the diversified options the city and township of Ann Arbor offer. I think there’s definitely a misconception about this city just being a place where there’s as many residences packed together as possible, and yes that holds true for the downtown area, but when you take a look at the outskirts, you get a little more space to yourself, and when I say outskirts, I’m not saying hours from civilization, these homes are 15-20 minutes from the center of downtown. This home is listed at $775,000 with a little under 2,000 finished square feet on .75 private acres with 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms which includes a basement and a 2 car garage. This home is located east of Burns park and north of Allen, with Easy access to the University Main and Hospital Campuses, downtown Ann Arbor, shopping options and US 23.
This home on the other hand is not ready and will require quite a bit of funds to get it where you want it. But if you have the time and money to transform this unique space, I believe it could be something extremely valuable, not just for you over the span of your ownership, but for resale value as well. It was neglected, the landscape is overgrown, it looks like it was in the middle of being redone, and then it was just given up on, or maybe they came across bigger issues that will break the bank.
Stepping on over to the last home on the list, located north of the last home I mentioned, this $1.1 million contemporary home was built in 1962 and designed by architects Edward Olencki and Joseph Albano with just under 2400 finished square feet with 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms with a basement and a garage on just under half an acre probably was the hot spot back in the 60’s-70’s. There’s so much natural beauty in this home from all the built-ins, courtyard area, and floating staircase. It’s outdated, yes, but for someone who appreciates “old modern” architecture, this could have an extraordinary transformation, it’s just a matter if you or someone you know has the funds to do it.
With those home costs in mind, it’s important to touch on the overall utility cost, as that seems to be one of the more common questions I receive from out of staters, and it’s understandable, because seasonality definitely affects the price of your monthly utilities. So many websites and resources have such a mixed review about how much utilities cost in Ann Arbor, from $158 a month to $300 a month not including rent, so i figured the best way to do this, would be to go right to the source, and that’s the people who are ACTUALLY living in the city of Ann Arbor, so I came across a Reddit thread that breaks down furnace and A/C costs pretty good.
This first person says $175 for a DTE bill on his 2 bedroom house would be quite a bit, since he has had it under $80 and as high as $165. Another person said their 1200 square foot home maxed out at about $175 a month and was as high as $200 in the colder months. Granted, it sounds like a lot of these people have a lack of insulation in their walls and possibly drafty windows. So that’s a good example to be sure to seal up your home well to ensure you aren’t just throwing your money away during the colder months. Something I have done in the past especially for windows and since there’s a current supply shortage on them and they are also very expensive, So I used a plastic wrap product that works as a shrink film insulator. Relatively inexpensive and it makes a big difference if you have bad seals on your windows. All in all, you could expect to pay $200-$350 a month for all your utilities and of course the size of your home, and efficiency of your home and units makes a big difference.
SALARY AND WAGES
Stepping over to another important topic to chat about, and that’s the salary and wages. Numerous sources state that households in Ann Arbor have a median annual income of just under $70,000, which represents a 5.64% annual growth rate. This next image shows the income by location. The darker blue is $141,000 plus, and the lighter grays are between $47,000 and $102,000. This next colorful chart shows the employment by occupation just to give you an idea of what the most popular occupations are in Ann Arbor. The most popular occupation is in Education, instruction, and library occupations coming in at 20.1% overall and the lowest is construction and extraction occupations coming in at 0.79%.
Since we are in the city for one of the top rated hospitals across the nation, I think it’s important to tackle health care spending. This chart shows an orange line which depicts the progression of the spending value totals per capita since before 1992 to past 2014. Granted, this data is a little old, but it gives you an idea of the constant progression of how much people are spending for personal health care here in the state of Michigan on average. The university of Michigan healthcare system does have some cost estimates to show their price transparency, so I will put a link to that in the description so you can see what your Michigan medicine services will cost.
Moving on over to another expense you want to consider when living in Ann Arbor, is transportation, unless your walking, riding a bike or taking a 100 miles per gallon moped from point A to B like a lot of people in Ann Arbor, you probably dislike driving in a city atmosphere, especially when all you need to drive is a couple miles and it takes you 20 or 30 minutes. The city of Ann Arbor offers several public transportation options, so if this is a route you’re going to take, be sure to familiarize yourself with their routes and schedules so you don’t find yourself in an ugly late situation. Ann Arbor also offers a go pass for employers whose organization is located within the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Boundaries, which allows you to get unlimited use of all TheRide fixed bus routes in the city along with discounts on other services and purchases at downtown stores. I’ll be sure to put a link in the description to allow you to see if your organization is within the DDA boundary. The average transportation cost is $1.50-$3.00 depending on if it’s a single ride or a day pass.
The last thing I want to touch on is groceries. Ann Arbor is known to have several upscale establishments, not just in the restaurant space, but in the grocery space as well. Of course the city has Kroger’s and Busch’s, but they also have trader joes and whole foods, which can definitely make a few dents in your wallet. Numbeo.com did an okay job of laying out the cost of food and groceries in the city of Ann Arbor. At the top you can see how much restaurants cost and this is definitely a little more expensive than most places in southeast Michigan, because every time I seem to eat in downtown Ann Arbor, I end up spending $15-$22 for a sandwich or wrap and french fries. Whereas, in most other places you could expect to pay $10-$12 for that same meal. Now in the markets section you can see what your everyday items cost, and off to the side in green you can get an idea of how the price ranges for each of these grocery items.
For those of you that watched this video all the way through, what’s your thoughts on the cost of living in Ann Arbor and how does it compare to where you are now? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.
If you ever have any questions about Ann Arbor or the surrounding areas, please feel free to reach out anytime and I would be happy to help you through your thought process.
Andrew McManamon is a Michigan REALTOR® with Signature Sotheby’s International Realty and provides real estate services to Buyers, Sellers and Investors throughout SE Michigan including Livingston County, Oakland County, Washtenaw County, Genesee County & beyond. Andrew has become one of the rising stars of Michigan real estate agents. Prior to his real estate career Andrew was responsible for managing a senior living facility in Brighton, Michigan as a dining supervisor and an activities assistant. Andrew’s passion to help people is unlike any other, and he continues to strive to be best resource he can be. Andrew graduated from Cleary University in Howell, Michigan with a double major and currently resides in White Lake, Michigan.