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The 5 Most Affordable Cities in Michigan

The Wolverine State delivers on budget-conscious living without skimping on the amenities

By Bonnie Burch on August 6, 2018

MI|Holland mI

From mortgages to gas prices, a city’s living costs are a major factor in deciding whether you want to settle there. But those are not the only factors. The cheapest places to live may not actually have much to offer, besides a low house payment. You’ve got to want to live there too.

So when we selected the cities to appear on this list, we factored in more than where to get the cheapest mortgages. We included living costs, average annual income, attractions, quality of life and much more. All of which helped us determine the five best, low-cost Michigan cities that you’d love to live in.

Here are the 5 Most Affordable Cities in Michigan:

  1. Midland, MI

  2. Lansing, MI

  3. Wyoming, MI

  4. Holland, MI

  5. Ann Arbor, MI

1. Midland

Named one of the Top 100 Best Places to Live in 2016, Midland has an outstanding educational system, coupled with an outstanding arts scene, and shopping and dinning opportunities in the downtown area.

Enjoy getting outside and being active? Don’t worry. Midland is rich with parks and green spaces, including the Pere Marquette Rail Trail and the family-friendly Chippewa Nature Center. Sports lovers can find golf, hockey, BMX bike racing, gymnastics, tennis and even curling here.

Best Places to Live in Michigan

Dow Chemical Company was founded in Midland and the company has contributed to the community’s growth including the 100-acre Dow Gardens, the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library and the architecturally rich Alden B. Dow Home and Studio.

The median home value in Midland is a decent $144,000, with median household income at $58,910.

Lansing MI
Lansing / Greater Lansing CVB

2. Lansing

If quizzed, many people would be surprised to learn that Lansing is the capital of Michigan rather than the more populous and well-known Detroit. In fact, Lansing is only the fifth largest city in the state, even though it houses the state’s governmental offices.

For residents, median home value is a highly affordable $89,190, and median household income at $38,642. In fact in Lansing you get so much bang for your buck that the city was #1 on the 2018 Top 10 Best Affordable Places to Live list

Best Affordable Places to Live

In addition to being the seat of state government, Lansing is also the home of Michigan State University, a top public research institution.

Residents will never get bored here because the city is bursting with culture. It has its own ballet company, a symphony orchestra, a jazz festival, and a blues festival, too. You can stroll a more than 20-miles of Lansing on the River Trail, which has a trailhead at Potter Park Zoo, which features 500 animals representing about 160 different species on 20-acres of land.

5 Best Cities for Families in Michigan

3. Wyoming

Instead of the state famous for cowboys and open spaces, Wyoming, located in west Michigan, has a sharp focus on affordable living without skimping on the amenities.

Just a short drive from Grand Rapids, Wyoming offers smaller town living with big city amenities, including ample greenspace and delicious dining options. Wyoming has more than 600-acres of parkland in its holdings for residents’ use. A free Concerts in the Park series is held each summer.

Book lovers delight in the well-loved Kent District Library. City residents feel the love is mutual with about 75 percent of the population having a library card.

The median home value in Wyoming is $107,700, while the median household income is $50,971.

MI|Holland mI

4. Holland

As its name suggests, Holland residents really celebrate the city’s Dutch history, whether taking part in the Tulip Time Festival each May, touring the DeKlomp Wooden Shoe & Delft Factory or visiting De Zwann, “the only authentic Dutch windmill in operation in the United States,†at Windmill Island Gardens.

Since it’s situated on the shores of Lake Macatawa, near Lake Michigan, residents enjoy boating, fishing and beach-going. The city’s lighthouse, Holland Harbor Light, also known as “Big Red,†stands on the south side of Holland Channel.

Along with all the great scenery, living in Holland is quite affordable too. Median home value is $131,700 while median household income is $53,781.

5. Ann Arbor

In 2018, Ann Arbor was named #1 on our Top 100 Best Places to Live list and it’s easy to see why. This college town can add another jewel to its crown: the most affordable place to live in the state.

Median household income, here, is $70,286, with a median home value at $250,200.

One factor that moves Ann Arbor up to the high point on the list is its proximity to the University of Michigan, which also drives employment and culture here. Tech companies have also sprung up around the college and the city places an emphasis on growing the STEM sector. Additionally, Domino’s Pizza is headquartered out of Ann Arbor. 

The Public Typewriter That Brought Ann Arbor’s Community Together

With art and film festivals, ballet and classical music and little used bookshops, there is always something of interest going on in Ann Arbor. Where else can you find all-night dollar pizza down the street from a world-famous classical performance venue with nearly perfect acoustics? In Ann Arbor, you’ll find farmers’ markets, cafes, excellent shopping, top-rated restaurants and some of the best craft beer in the country – all within a few blocks of each other. Shopping and dining opportunities are numerous including Zingerman’s Delicatessen, which is famous for having the best pastrami sandwich anywhere. 

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