Many people planning a move to Ann Arbor anticipate living downtown. They envision walking to work, walking into town for coffee or dinner on a whim, or a night out partying, then walking home to a house on the west side or an in-town loft. Leaving the car in the driveway or maybe getting rid of one or both cars.
The reality is that the housing prices in downtown Ann Arbor and the surrounding neighborhoods are skyrocketing, and the cost of living downtown is simply out of reach for many!
Ann Arbor is on the right side of many trends that will keep it growing steadily. It’s a community that will thrive during a recession. With that guarantee comes higher and higher housing prices. Ann Arbor homes and condos walkable to downtown Ann Arbor are simply more expensive.
If you want to live close to downtown Ann Arbor but do not have the cash or resources to take on a jumbo mortgage, what can you do? Consider the next tier out from downtown. Many of these neighborhoods offer homebuyers affordable alternatives to expensive downtown homes with more convenience, square footage, and great accessibility.
These neighborhoods offer you easy access to all that the Ann Arbor area offers. Many of them offer an easy drive, bike ride, or bus ride to the medical campus, U of M central campus, or downtown.
Having lived in Ann Arbor since 1996, I am always amazed (and very grateful) about how easy it is to get where I need to go very quickly. Living 3 miles from downtown, if I want to catch a 7:30 movie at the Michigan Theater, I can hop in my car at 7:15 and still make it! I can even grab the bus right outside my door if I want to.
Here are a few of our favorite neighborhood choices for people who want to live in town and be close to all that Ann Arbor offers but remain within budget.
Features beautiful, established homes in a quintessential Ann Arbor neighborhood. Lined by leafy, mature trees and surrounded by amply sized lots, Lansdowne homes include Ranch, Bi- and Tri-level contemporaries, and Two-story colonial models.
Built between 1963 and 1987, homes range from 1461- 3205 square feet and feature 3-5 bedrooms, 1.5 to 4 baths, and full or partial basements. Many properties offer egress/daylight/walkouts and multi-car garages.
While many homes boast updated décor and amenities, the neighborhood’s original high-quality construction shines through hardwood floors and other retained pieces.
North Oaks of Ann Arbor
North Oaks of Ann Arbor is located 3/4 of a mile from the north campus of the University of Michigan and only a few miles from downtown. Architecturally stunning entrance and clubhouse, manicured open spaces, and thoughtfully-designed parks and walking paths.
Children will attend acclaimed Ann Arbor schools.
Ann Arbor Woods
With its close proximity to downtown Ann Arbor and abundance of recreational parks, Ann Arbor Woods offers a combination of secluded charm and city convenience.
Situated between Washtenaw Avenue and the intersection of Packard Street and Packard Road, the neighborhood is less than four miles from University of Michigan campuses and Main Street’s shops and restaurants.
Smokler Hutzel – Georgetown
The Georgetown neighborhood was built in the 1960s and is located off of Eisenhower Blvd. It consists of several Smokler Hutzel subdivisions identified by the numbers – 2,3,4 etc. These homes offer solid 1960’s construction with brick exteriors, larger yards, and hardwood floors—several floor plans including traditional two stories, ranches, tri-levels, and capes.
Turnberry Subdivision is located in southeast Ann Arbor off of Packard Rd., east of Carpenter Road. The community consists of single-family homes built in the mid-1990’s on small lots and range in size from 1450-2000 square feet floor plans offering 2-4 bedrooms, full basements, two car garages, and decks.
The subdivision is in a great location. Close to shopping and dining, as well as US-23 and I-94, downtown Ann Arbor, schools, and parks. Students can walk to the Elementary and Middle School.
Berkshire Creek and Brentwood Square Condominiums
Located at Huron Parkway and Washtenaw, Berkshire Creek, and Brentwood Square Condominiums offer one of the best locations in the Ann Arbor area – close to U of M, easy access to downtown and the medical campus, and easy access to US-23 and I-94.
They’re also within walking distance of Whole Foods and Ann Arbor Hills shopping—bike or bus to Gallup Park, the Huron River, and Huron Hills Golf Course.
Built in the early 2000s, these condos feature up-to-date floor plans with square footage ranging from 900 up to 2200. 1 and two bedrooms.
Located just two miles southwest of downtown Ann Arbor’s shops and restaurants, Vernon Downs is one of Ann Arbor’s most desirable subdivisions. The majority of the homes of the neighborhood are well-maintained brick ranches with 2-5 bedrooms and 1-3.5 baths.
Many properties include detached garages and comfortable, fenced-in yards that are perfect for gardening, pets, and communal gatherings. Mature trees and quiet streets give the neighborhood a peaceful feel.
Chapel Hill Condominiums
Chapel Hill is popular for its great value and prime northeast Ann Arbor location. Construction began in the early 1970’s by Bert L. Smokler and Company and was completed in the early 1980s. Mainly townhouse styles with basements, these Ann Arbor condos have larger floor plans than most in their price range, making them a smart choice for condo buyers.
These Ann Arbor condos have many floor plans to choose from and range in size from 846-1401 square feet. Features include a wonderful clubhouse with an exercise facility, an in-ground community pool, a meeting/party room, and parks, offering activities for both adults and children alike. Children attend Ann Arbor schools: Thurston, Clague, and Huron.
Geddes Lake Condominiums
Geddes Lake Condominiums are located off Huron Pkwy between Glazier and Plymouth Rd. in northeast Ann Arbor, MI.
The condos offer 2-3 bedrooms, 1 or 2-1/2 baths, patio or deck, and 1-1.5 car attached garages. A few have walkout lower levels. Amenities include a clubhouse with a pool, tennis courts, walking trails, and a playground.
Geddes Lake is an easy walk or bike to Traver Village Plaza, Plymouth Road Shopping, Traverwood Library, and U-M North Campus. Also, enjoy nature at Oakwoods Park, Leslie Science Center, Matthaei Botanical Gardens, and paddling down the nearby Huron River from Gallup or Argo Park. Golf is an option with the newly renovated Leslie Golf Course just minutes away! On the AATA bus line and close to U-M Medical Campus, Domino’s Farms Office Center, and US-23, M-14 & I-94.
My advice, if you already live within walking distance of downtown? Stay put! You are on the right side of many trends that favor continuing appreciation. If you need to move, keep your property as an investment property or maybe make it an Airbnb rental!