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Michigan's Housing Gold Rush: Unveiling the Top 5 Fastest Growing Counties and Where To Buy Next

Michigan has seen a reduction in population over the last decade, but that does not mean that pockets of growth exist. Typically when you are looking for a place to own and live there needs to be a growing population to support increasing home values. in recent years, with certain counties experiencing exponential population increases. This surge in population has had a profound effect on the local housing market, resulting in rising home prices and rents in these regions. In this blog post, we will delve into the top five fastest-growing counties in Michigan and discuss how this growth is influencing the real estate landscape. Additionally, we will highlight the most impactful development project in each county, which is contributing to its transformation. So where should we start digging?

Shrugging Man confused where to buy a house in Michigan
Where to Buy Is Always Confusing

5. Livingstone County:

Population Growth: 7.1% from 2010 to 2020 and 1.2% from 2020-2023. What is really impressive is since 1990 the area has seen a 20% increase in population showing long term and stable growth.

Housing Market Impact:

The rapid influx of residents in Livingston County has fueled an dramatic demand for housing. As a consequence, home prices have surged, making it challenging for many prospective buyers to enter the market. Furthermore, rental rates have also seen a notable uptick, putting pressure on renters looking for affordable housing options.

Impactful Development Project: New Hospital

Construction is scheduled to break ground in early 2023 on a four-story, 174,000-square-foot hospital consisting of 56 acuity adaptable beds, 18 existing Short Stay Unit beds, and eight licensed operating rooms. The largest development undertaking in Livingston County, is set to reshape the area's landscape. This ambitious project aims to bring in more high paying medical jobs and provide outstanding care for the growing population in the area. As it nears completion, it is expected to have a substantial impact on the local real estate market, providing new housing opportunities and commercial spaces.

New hospital in Livingstone MI
New Hospital Renderings. Credit WHMI 93.5

4. Allegan County:

Population Growth: 0.6% from 2020 to 2023 and a 8.2% increase from 2010-2020

Housing Market Impact: In Allegan County, the surge in population has created a demand-supply imbalance in the housing market. Homebuyers are finding themselves in highly competitive situations, leading to escalated home prices. Consequently, renters are facing mounting challenges to secure affordable rental accommodations.

Impactful Development Project:

Gun Lake Tribe is investing heavily to add retail, medical, housing, manufacturing, and entertainment on the north side of the lake along 131. A significant development initiative in Allegan County, is poised to keep developing the already growing footprint. This multifaceted project seeks to add significant industrial, medical, and manufacturing spaces. As it progresses, it will undoubtedly influence the real estate dynamics, attracting potential buyers and renters to the newly developed spaces.

Gun Lake is investing money into Allegan County
Gun Lake Casino is investing heavily to change the look along 131. Gun Lake Casino via Facebook

3. Kent County:

Population Growth: 0.2% from 2020 to 2023 and 9.2% from 2010 to 2020.

Housing Market Impact: The burgeoning population in Kent County has generated a surge in housing demand, leading to soaring home prices. Rental properties are also witnessing an upward trend, making affordability a pressing concern for many residents.

Impactful Development Project: Grand Rapids Amphitheater. The 85,000-square-foot venue would include 7,000 fixed seats and 5,000 lawn seats, a main stage, concessions, and a pedestrian and entrance plaza along Market Avenue, per the planning documents would be a great addition to the city. Bringing up to 300,000 annual visitors to Grand Rapids every year for entertainment. It is set to make a significant impact on the downtown real estate scene. As it comes to fruition, it is poised to attract homebuyers and renters alike.

Proposed Grand Rapids Amphitheater
A view of the 12,000-capacity amphitheater from the Grand River, looking east. From this view, the amphitheater stage faces north toward the downtown skyline. Credit: Progressive AE Inc.

2. Grand Traverse County:

Population Growth: 1.3% from 2020 to 2023 and 9.5 from 2010 to 2020.

Housing Market Impact: The beauty and attractiveness of living up north has brought many people to the Traverse area. The rapid population growth in [County Name 4] has led to a surge in demand for housing, causing home prices to soar to unprecedented levels.

Impactful Development Project: 192 Unit Work Force Apartment Complex. It was hard to pick this one because they did announce that there was approval for a much needed bridge to bypass downtown, but this bridge will take 120 years to build

So I chose another project that is more relevant to today. The building of Brigantine Apartments will bring much needed workforce housing to the quickly growing Traverse Area. Upon its completion, it is expected to alleviate some of the housing scarcity that is present currently.

Breaking ground on the new apartments.
Groundbreaking for 192-apartment workforce housing development in Grand Traverse County. (Slabtown Solutions)

1. Ottawa County:

Population Growth: 1.6 from 2020 to 2023 and 12.3% from 2010-2020

Housing Market Impact: Last and the fastest growing is Ottawa County. The escalating population has made homeowners happy with the rapid increases in prices and is pricing many out of the market.

Impactful Development Project: Downtown Holland just approved a dramatic change to their city with the approval to sell the Verplank docks and allow for that land to be used to build hotels and apartments along the waterfront of Lake Macatawa. Plans are to build a 50-room hotel, four apartment buildings totaling 108 units, a restaurant with outdoor seating, an ice cream parlor, a docking area for cruise ships and a marina with private and transient slips. This change will certainly liven up the already busy downtown of Holland, allowing for visitors and residents to easily get to a waterfront. Although the plans were just approved, it is anticipated to attract a substantial influx of new residents, fueling further growth in the local housing market.

The revised, proposed plans by Holland-based Geenen DeKock Properties would see a 50-room hotel, four apartment buildings totaling 108 residences, a restaurant with outdoor seating, a docking area for cruise ships and more built along the Lake Macatawa shoreline off of W 8th Street and Washington Boulevard.
(Picture provided by Holland)

Well there you go, that is the top five fastest-growing counties in Michigan. Use this information to decide if you would like to invest in real estate, buy a home as a first time buyer, or if you are thinking of selling your home. Each of these counties have experienced remarkable population increases, resulting in significant effects on their housing markets. Escalating home prices and rental rates are increasingly becoming challenges for both prospective buyers and renters.

As these counties undergo transformation with their largest development projects, it will be fascinating to witness how these initiatives impact the overall real estate landscape and the quality of life for their residents.

New posts every week and published on Thursdays.


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