- By Eric Pointer
- Local Page
- Published Oct 18, 2017
Condo life in this Michigan city just 45 minutes west of Detroit spans from the elegance of downtown's luxury apartments to the solitude of riverside condos. With demand increasing and several construction projects in the works already, now is a great time to explore relocating to Ann Arbor.
Renting of Buying?
A key question in relocating is whether to rent or buy. While traditional advice would encourage you to buy only if you’ll be in the same location for at least five years, the truth is there are a lot of factors outside of permanence to consider when making a decision on this manner.
Generally speaking, if you’re fresh to the area and don’t have weeks to spend real estate hunting, renting will allow you to get a better feel of life there without forcing you into an unwise investment.
Luckily, in downtown Ann Arbor, you’ll have plenty of options either way year-round. Although the number of real estate sales dipped in Ann Arbors market dipped earlier this year, there’s been a strong positive increase in recent months.
For those in the rental market, the average rent of a one-bedroom apartment with 709 sq. ft. is around $1,069, an average that has been consist for the area since 2014. While downtown Ann Arbor is on the higher end of rental costs, it’s only an average of $100 more than the most inexpensive neighborhood, Cranbrook Towers.
What’s Ann Arbor like?
Ann Arbor’s residents simply love Ann Arbor. A 2015 survey found that “94 percent of residents rate Ann Arbor as a good or excellent place to live.” Finding out the reason why isn’t difficult at all: There’s a high quality of life, over 150 city parks (including the Huron River), consistent improvements in city walkability, clean air, an expanding public transit system, and a reputation for safety.
Slightly more upscale than other Michigan cities, Ann Arbor’s a well-rounded area for college students, professionals and smaller families. A strong sense of community has been built over the years by continual interaction in the form of plenty of annual festivals, early anti-discrimination ordinances, and successful charity drives.
What’s all of this mean for you and your new downtown lifestyle? It means you’ll have all the benefits of any other big city, but with the added bonus of a robust and responsive local government and a thriving business community eager to get in on all the national trends while maintaining Ann Arbor’s high standard when it comes to community living and quality of life.
Furthermore, this “big little city” of 28 mi² is large enough to warrant its plethora of amenities, restaurants, attractions, and other features, but also small and spread out enough to allow solitude-seekers space to get away from the bustle of traffic, kids, and construction — a key feature that’s important when you’re living in the hustle of a downtown area and occasionally need to relax outside of the city limits.
Views from the 734
Living downtown, you’ll be able to see sights like the Tower Plaza (the tallest building in the city), University of Michigan’s campus, and the restored Michigan Theater, all from the comfort of your condo. From most parts of the city, the Huron River is just a brisk 20-minute walk away.
But Ann Arbor, being home to a major university, isn’t just river walks and theatre. There’s a thriving nightlife scene, with a variety of clubs that have theme nights, rotating DJs, underground lounges, and, of course, hours and hours of happy hour specials.
Downtown is also home to the city’s unique attractions, like fairy doors and graffiti alley, and amazing restaurants like the tapas bar Aventura, Pacific Rim’s Asian fusion dishes, and the sophisticated meals of Sava’s.
But living downtown isn’t just about the sights and attractions; to really make downtown your home, you’ll need to get out into the community and meet your neighbors and add to the value of your area. Start by joining one of the local book clubs, any of the city’s other social groups, or sign up to become one of the city’s many volunteers..
Making the Move
If you’re look to move here, be aware that you’re not alone in seeking a comfortable Ann Arbor nest. Downtown Ann Arbor has attracted both jobs and residents, leading to a growth trend larger than the cities of Berkeley, Boulder, and Chapel Hill.
But finding a new place to live isn't just the sum of real estate options; you should also consider the area's attractions, the potential for adventure, and the wide variety of things to do in Ann Arbor.
If you find the marriage of city cosmopolitanism and Midwest manners, think about how nice it’ll be to take a short drive after work up to the river for an evening kayaking session, or look forward to living somewhere who’s people are just as welcoming as the weather, you'll be a perfect match for Ann Arbor’s downtown.