Investors – Detroit Well on Way to Recovery

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Key Highlights

  • Detroit known as diverse economic and cultural hub
  • Detroit is second in size only to Chicago in Midwest

While Staving Off Pandemic Impacts, Metrics Indicate Motor City Recovering

Sitting on the Canadian border and second in size to Chicago in the Midwest, Detroit has been a key city for trade for over 300 years.

Today, Detroit is home to General Motors, Ford Motor,Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Penske Automotive Group as well as to the Motown sound.

State of Detroit’s Housing Market

Like everywhere in the country, Detroit’s housing market is a beneficiary of the country’s ongoing inventory shortage.  Prices are up +14% y/y with a median price of $160,000…obviously still  well below the national average median price of $353,000.  This rising discrepancy gives investors a lot of room to negotiate

In terms of “buy-and-hold” investors, rental vacancies were up to 8.7% in Detroit during March 2021.  Well above the national average of rental vacancies of 6.8%, investors may want to consider implications for marketing and turnaround times.

Unemployment Trend

The pandemic hit Detroit hard.  In May 2020, its unemployment rate was 24.8%, or nearly double the national average of 13.3%

However, as of March 2021, Detroit’s unemployment rate dropped to only 4.5%, lower than May 2021’s national unemployment rate 5.8%

Detroit’s Median Home Price

Motor City home prices have jumped +14%y/y with a median home price of $160,000.

Also, due to national inventory shortages, Detroit’s housing supply, as of March, stood at 1.3 months while the nation’s supply was only 1.09 months

Detroit’s Median Rent Price

Motor City’s rent prices have jumped +7.8% y/y.  As of March 2021, the average rent price in Detroit hit $1,284, about –25% behind rental prices nationwide

When investors consider the fact that home prices in Detroit are approximately -55% below the national average, investors may believe that the odds are in their favor when it comes to getting ahead on Detroit investments.

Detroit’s Real Estate Health Indicators Improving

Mortgage delinquencies are up slightly by +0.6% y/y at a rate of 3.9%. Foreclosures, on the other hand, are down -0.1% y/y to just 0.1%.

Investors Specializing in Student Housing

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is just 45-minutes from downtown Detroit.  UM is the region’s largest higher-education institution with over 31,000 students.

Wayne State University is the only large university located within the city of limits of Detroit.  Its student body population exceeds 26,000.

Oakland University in the suburb of Rochester, some 30 miles NW of Detroit, is home to more than 20,000 students.

Neighborhoods Worthy of Investment Consideration

Knowing that conditions differ on a street-by-street basis in Detroit, here are some neighborhoods investors might like to explore:

  • West Village– close to both Downtown and the Rivertown-Warehouse district, the West Village is walk-able and increasingly popular with working professionals and young families
  • East English Village– up-and-coming neighborhood with shopping and restaurant amenities PLUS affordable housing built in the 1930’s to 1950’s
  • Fitzgerald – this a neighborhood filled with both enormous revitalization efforts and abandoned houses – it could be worthy of fix-and-flip investments as investors could find some leverage in terms of price negotiation.


Thanks to Millionacres and Housing Tides by EnergyLogic.

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