Ann Arbor's Great Divide Part 1: How our metro has become segregated by class

Ann Arbor priced me out. I've been here for nearly a decade and rented all over the city, from downtown high rises, to duplexes near main st, to your standard apartment complexes around town.

I was looking to buy something, finally, and the real estate prices in Ann Arbor are just too crazy. I looked into buying one of the condos I had rented a couple years ago downtown.... before the mortgage even came into play it was nearly $1,000 in condo fees, parking, and taxes.

Looking at homes around the city... I just pulled one up for a reminder.... it is $249/sqft. And the house needs a ton of work; it looks like shit. At that sqft price, the home I ended up purchasing would have cost nearly $600,000; with the finishes it has it would probably be around $700-800k in Ann Arbor. If you put down $120,000 cash, you end up with a payment of about $3k/month (not including property tax and insurance).

Maybe I'm saving too much away in my 401k, etc (I don't think I am)... but when I make nearly 2x the median household income in Ann Arbor and I find the housing costs unacceptable... there is an problem. For a couple, both earning well, it probably seems fine, but the idea that the AA market basically requires 2 incomes in crazy.

I don't want to live and work to pay the mortgage. Ann Arbor isn't nice enough to pay that much for a shit house. When I tell people where I'm moving they almost universally reply by saying I'm going to live with the rich people.... so it isn't like I'm moving to Ypsi. The area is still nice, not out in the middle of nowhere, or considered poor.... the housing market just isn't completely fucked like it is in Ann Arbor.

We aren't talking about accommodating the "lower class". Ann Arbor isn't even very accommodating for households making $100-175k/year. Or maybe that is considered "poor" now. That is a hard one to argue with "rich" in America is being defined starting somewhere between $150k and $250k. So you're saying the upper-middle-class isn't good enough. Ann Arbor is only for the "rich".

Sure, there are places I could buy.... but I wouldn't be happy with the size or quality of any of them for the price and I'd need to put in a ton of time and money to get things up to par. It just isn't worth it.

I'm over this city. The idea of becoming a towie sounds horrible... I tried to like it, but this is basically what I think of this place now...

I will be happy to not need to worry about the football, basketball, student calendars, hash bash, art fair, and random dance parties that shut down main st and generally disrupt traffic all over the city. Not to mention the random twists and turns that the roads take in this city. Grid plans FTW.

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