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Study names Eastpointe second-most affordable city in state

Roseville makes No. 7 on list

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published May 16, 2016

 A New York-based financial technology firm has found Eastpointe to be the second-most affordable city in Michigan to buy a house in.

A New York-based financial technology firm has found Eastpointe to be the second-most affordable city in Michigan to buy a house in.

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EASTPOINTE/ ROSEVILLE — A New York-based financial technology firm has found Eastpointe and Roseville to be among the most affordable cities in Michigan to buy a house.

Under the study done by SmartAsset, Eastpointe came in second, narrowly missing the top spot to Holly. Roseville was listed in seventh place on the list, which factored in average closing costs, property taxes, housing insurance, annual average mortgage payment and median income.

The SmartAsset website explains that they took the total cost over five years for those four expenses and put it in as a proportion of the median household income to come up with their “affordability index” rating. The most affordable cities ended up being those in which total housing costs accounted for, on average, the smallest proportion of the median income of residents there.

According to SmartAsset’s data, the average closing cost in Eastpointe was $2,879, with annual property taxes of $1,891. The annual homeowner’s insurance there was $407, and annual mortgage payments were about $2,742. The median income of a household was $40,997, leaving the city with an affordability index of 93.29.

In contrast, Holly had higher closing costs, property taxes, insurance and mortgage payments, but also a higher median income for residents — $56,889 — leaving it with an affordability index of 93.74.

In Roseville, the average closing cost was $2,965, with property taxes of $1,896. The homeowner’s insurance came in at $431, with an average annual mortgage payment of $2,905. The median income was close to Eastpointe’s — $40,646 — leaving it with an affordability index of 92.70.

Eastpointe came in second on SmartAsset’s 2015 listings as well, behind Ishpeming; Roseville did not crack the top 10 at that time.

Eastpointe City Manager Steve Duchane said in a statement that there is “more to home affordability” than the sticker price on the real estate sign, as the move-in costs, taxes, insurance and monthly payments factor in as well.

“We’ve made great strides here in Eastpointe within the (past) couple of years, most notably … the (South Macomb Oakland Regional Services Authority) millage to fund emergency services that current residents and future homebuyers can rely on,” Duchane said in the statement.

Duchane said he found interesting the range of data points that SmartAsset took into account for its rankings, calling it “positive” considering the current economy. He said it showed that the city is a good place for a starter home or for people who are starting over.

The city has been working to make itself more appealing in its own right with infrastructure repairs, code enforcement and encouraging residents to become members of their community, he added.

Roseville City Manager Scott Adkins said Roseville’s variety of housing stock and code enforcement efforts to make sure the buildings are well-maintained likely are factors for the city’s affordability.

“Code enforcement is a big part, and trying to maintain stable neighborhoods,” Adkins said. “We’re trying to maintain the infrastructure as best as we can: water lines, sewer lines, the streets. It’s a continual basis, but it also adds value to things.”

The city also does not have many special assessments and taxes, which reduces the tax burden on households and keeps things affordable, Adkins said.

He said that the city has housing available for a variety of people, from newlywed couples to single people getting a fresh start, to seniors and those with established households.

Since all the data is readily quantifiable from the list, Adkins said that should mean it carries more weight than a hypothetical arbitrary one some other website could put forth.

The data came from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Bankrate, SmartAsset itself and various other government websites, according to information on the SmartAsset website.

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