Macomb County realtors weigh in on hot spots and home buyer trends

If last year is anything to go by, Macomb County has a lot to offer homebuyers. Now, top realtors in the area are focusing on what to expect for 2022, and what home buyers are looking for. 

Out of the top 10 metro Detroit neighborhoods with the biggest home sale surges in 2021, four Macomb County cities stood out: Sterling Heights, Warren, Roseville, and Chesterfield Township, according to data from RE/MAX of Southeastern Michigan. Median home sales prices last year were $261,000 in Sterling Heights, $165,000 in Warren, $152,000 in Roseville, and $337,500 in Chesterfield Township.
“Cities I'm seeing a lot of first-time buyers look at that seem to still have affordability would be Roseville, Eastpointe, and South Warren,” says Mark Benedict, senior mortgage consultant at CrossCountry Mortgage

In addition to those cities, Macomb Township, Clinton Township, and St. Clair Shores are also seeing a lot of investor activity, according to Chris VanBelle, president of the Grosse Pointe Board of Realtors (GPBR).

Part of the draw to Macomb County is its affordability, not only by specific city or township but also in comparison to neighboring counties. 

“Macomb County is definitely more affordable to live in,” says Kimberly Drescher, realtor and associate broker at Real Estate One in Shelby Township. “Compared to Oakland County, the average price point for the same square footage of a home is lower, along with most of the tax bases are lower.”

According to Chief Executive Officer of the GPBR Bob Taylor, the median home sale price in Macomb County is $230,000. In Oakland County, the median home sale price is $275,000. 

Photo: Chris Estrada.

However, some listings in certain parts of Macomb County are on the rise — as of late January, the highest-priced home on the market is $3.45 million which is located in Harrison Township. 

“Now Oakland, as we know, is typically higher but there's some areas of Macomb — Shelby Township, Macomb Township, maybe a little bit of Utica, where the home prices are really skyrocketing, and they're competing with Oakland,” VanBelle says. 

Besides the county’s wide range of home prices, access to highways — particularly 1-696 — for convenient commuting is another pull factor. Sterling Heights and Warren (the oldest cities in the county) are home to the “Golden Mile” — Mound Road to Van Dyke Avenue from 8 Mile to 18 Mile — the largest concentration of heavy manufacturing in the county, which produces many jobs. 

“The big thing [for homebuyers] is being able to move around — going on the freeways and then to work,” VanBelle says. “A lot of people are working from home too. I'm not seeing as many people move to the country areas just for the sake of work.”

Because of the prevalence of remote work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many homebuyers are looking for houses with workspaces — a trend Drescher has also noticed. Homes with office spaces, finished basements and larger backyards are hot properties, and Macomb “offers a wide variety of housing to meet people's needs,” Drescher says. 

Photo: Chris Estrada.

Other attractive factors many homebuyers seek are access to shopping, parks and recreation, senior centers, and some communities with walkable downtown areas. With Partridge Creek, Macomb Mall, and Lakeside Mall; senior centers in Macomb Township, Sterling Heights, and Clinton Township; three Metroparks and a few downtowns such as Utica or Mount Clemens, the county ticks those boxes. 

“People that move in from out of state, they just like Macomb [County],” VanBelle says. “They like the schools. They like the access to the amenities — the shopping, jobs and things like that. New Baltimore has been knocking it out of the park, too, with what they've done down Main Street and the really viable restaurants and the nice atmosphere […] New Baltimore is very attractive to homebuyers as well.” 

Kimberly Drescher, realtor and associate broker at Real Estate One in Shelby Township. Photo: Chris Estrada.

Macomb resident Melissa Scenga moved to Macomb Township in 2020 with her husband and two daughters. Having grown up in the Sterling Heights and Shelby Township area, the Scengas wanted to stay close to their family and friends in the area, as well as maintain access to the area’s public schools. 

Scenga, a financial planner, had the opportunity to work from home due to the pandemic, so one of her motives for moving was to find a house with a designated office space. 

“I personally enjoy having accessibility to all of the major roads — Hall Road or 26 Mile Road,” Scenga says. “I know it can be congested and crazy, but it's convenient. It's accessible, so I like having those amenities nearby. It's also a diverse community, which is another important aspect because we're a multiracial family, and so I feel like Macomb County is a good fit.” 

In the coming years, realtors expect to see growth in the county’s cities and townships. Drescher says new construction is picking up in Macomb Township, Washington, and Shelby Township. 

“Macomb County has always been awesome,” VanBelle says. “We love it. We love everything from cider mills to shopping to the vast country area. Macomb offers a lot of different things for a lot of different people, so it's very unique, and it's a very awesome place to live.” 
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