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 Eastpointe was named the eighth-most affordable city in Michigan to live in by SmartAsset.

Eastpointe was named the eighth-most affordable city in Michigan to live in by SmartAsset.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

Eastpointe named 8th-most affordable city in Michigan

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published July 2, 2020


EASTPOINTE — Eastpointe was recently listed as the eighth-most affordable city in Michigan to live in by data publisher SmartAsset.

SmartAsset is a private company that publishes data-driven content, topical guides, reviews, personalized calculators and educational tools.

Steve Sabato, a spokesperson at SmartAsset, said in an email that Eastpointe ranked among the best communities they looked at when ascertaining which cities were the most affordable.

“For Eastpointe residents who are looking to find the most affordable places, this study provides a look at the places in Michigan where housing costs are lowest as a percentage of annual income,” he wrote. “These results provide context for people looking to compare the affordability of housing markets across the state. The places where costs were lowest compared to the local income are the places that ranked as the most affordable.”

SmartAsset listed Eastpointe’s average closing cost for a home at $3,022, its average annual property tax at $1,897, its average annual homeowner’s insurance at $430, its average annual mortgage payment at $3,549 and the median income of residents as $46,601.

To formulate its results, SmartAsset said it reviewed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey, information from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and various government websites.

“To find the most affordable places to buy a home, SmartAsset considered closing costs, real estate taxes, homeowners insurance and mortgage rates in the analysis,” explained Sabato. “We started the analysis by including all cities with a population of 5,000 or greater. We then measured the total cost of owning a home (using the average home cost) in each city throughout a five-year period. That five-year cost was then measured as a proportion of median household income in each place to determine affordability. The most affordable places were those in which total housing costs were smallest compared to the median income in each area. Each city was then indexed on a scale from zero to 100, with the most affordable location receiving a score of 100.”

Eastpointe Mayor Monique Owens said that ensuring housing in Eastpointe remains affordable has been a priority for city officials for the last several years.

“A lot of things we’ve been doing in that area is making sure that houses are fixed up so when people buy a house, it’s not a fixer-upper, it’s ready to live in,” she said. “When we buy a house back from tax reversion, we’ve been working with companies to hire local residents to fix up homes in their community.”

She added that the city has worked with several organizations to increase the number of affordable homes within the city as well.

“Housing for people who are low income is important,” Owens said. “We also are working with Habitat for Humanity to increase housing for people in the community. We want affordable housing so people are moving in and staying here.”

Owens said she is pleased to hear about SmartAsset’s findings but is concerned that some people equate affordable housing with poor living conditions.

“I hope people don’t think it’s a bad thing, because some people think ‘affordable housing’ means ‘cheap housing.’ It’s more about making sure people know Eastpointe is a city they can move into and invest in,” she said. “When we say ‘affordable housing’ it might not mean the same to everyone. I looked at analysis of data from groups like (the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments) of the income of people living in Eastpointe. … Some people might think of affordable housing in a downtown area, and that can be $2,000 a month, but our affordable housing attitude is aimed at working class families.”

She went on to say that affordable places to live will likely be an even more important commodity for cities since many people in Michigan are likely going to be recovering from the economic impact of the COVID-19 quarantine for some time.

“With COVID-19, people need even more opportunities to get housing since their credit or savings are probably suffering,” Owens said. “Bringing more people into Eastpointe is a priority to us. Fixing up an unoccupied house brings in more families, brings in more revenue and eliminates blight and unused spaces. It also makes it easier to create jobs. … With the pandemic, a lot of people are suffering and don’t know what tomorrow may mean for their bank account. We want to make sure no matter what happens in the future, Eastpointe is still offering good places to live.”