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Renter's Guide to Detroit

Welcome to the Motor City!

Detroit is the largest city in Michigan, encompassing 142 square miles. To put that into perspective, Detroit is 5 times bigger than Ann Arbor, which is just 43 miles away. Its neighbor to the north, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, is 5 miles away and 4 times smaller.

Detroit residents are a special breed of people who can endure long, cold winters and only 180 days of sun per year. If you can handle an average temperature of 25°F in January – with about 33 inches of snow per year – and an average of 73°F in July, Detroit just might be the place for you.

The city sometimes gets a bad rap, but Travel + Leisure magazine ranked it the 27th Best Place to Travel in 2016, and Forbes ranked it the 7th Best City for Singles, based on “dating affordability”.

It’s a city on the upswing, with massive efforts to revitalize blighted areas and clean up its reputation. Plus, the views of downtown from the Detroit River are stunning.

Detroit, MI Demographics

  • Total Population690,074
  • Female 326,569
    Male 363,505
  • Median Age35.2

Cost of Living in Detroit, MI

Utility costs in Detroit are high compared to the rest of the nation. The average cost per month for water, electricity, and waste disposal is $289.68 for a 915-square-feet apartment, compared to the national average of $147. No doubt, much of that is due to the winter heating bill.

Even so, Detroit’s overall cost of living is a whopping 25 percent lower than the rest of the U.S.

Dinner for two with a three-course meal will likely cost around $40. After-dinner cappuccinos will set you back about $3.75. When you're finished, hitch a ride on the Detroit People Mover automated light rail system to reach your next destination – for only 75 cents.

The Detroit Department of Transportation provides buses throughout the city, and one-way fares are $1.50 for adults, 75 cents for students, and 50 cents for seniors. Monthly passes are also available.

Average Rent in Detroit, MI

  • Detroit, MI Average Rental Price, January 2019$1,028/mo

Detroit, MI Apartment Rent Ranges

  • < $5002%
  • $501-$70031%
  • $701-$1,00029%
  • $1,001-$1,50023%
  • $1,501-$2,00010%
  • > $2,0005%

Detroit, MI Rent Trends

Average Rent Jan / 2016 May / 2016 Sept / 2016 Jan / 2017 May / 2017 Sept / 2017 Jan / 2018 May / 2018 Jan / 2019
Detroit, MI $883 $905 $930 $940 $961 $979 $989 $987 $1,028
National $1,290 $1,319 $1,334 $1,329 $1,354 $1,366 $1,366 $1,381 $1,396

Average rent is projected to grow by 3% in 2018 compared to 2017.

Please note that projected rent growth is calculated at city level.

Average rent values on this page are aggregated from data from the following zip codes: 48201482024820348204482054820648207482084820948210482114821248213482144821548216482174821948221482234822448225482264822748228482304823348234482354823648238482394824048243

Check out the average rent prices in Detroit by neighborhood.

Living in Detroit, MI

If you crave diversity, Detroit’s your town. With a mixture of ethnicities left over from the city’s automotive boom in the early 20th century, the city's a veritable melting pot of cultures. Dearborn, which is just 8 miles from Detroit, has the largest number of Arab-Americans in the U.S.

The short drive to Canada is another advantage of living in Detroit, as well as the incredibly low real estate prices.

Reasons not to move to Detroit include its violent crime rate. According to the FBI, Detroit has the highest murder and violent crime rate of any major city in the country. Another negative is the city's high unemployment rate, which hovers around 14 percent.

Things to do in Detroit

There are so many fun things to do in Detroit.

For the outdoorsy types, the Campus Martius Park offers entertainment all year on its 2.5 acres in the heart of downtown. Belle Isle Park is a state park on the Detroit River with 982 acres of nature trails and a beach for swimming. Another great outdoor venue is Chene Park, which has an amphitheater, trails, a fountain, and a bar.

If you'd rather relax indoors, one of the top things to do in Detroit is tempting lady luck at one of its casinos, the MGM Grand Detroit Casino or the Greektown Casino. If you’re hungry, check out the authentic restaurants in Mexicantown, or fill up on barbecue at Slows Bar Bq.

According to WalletHub, Detroit is the best city in the U.S. for hockey fans, so taking in a Detroit Red Wings game at Joe Louis Arena should be at the top of your list of things to do in Detroit. During baseball season, the Detroit Tigers rock Comerica Park, and Ford Field packs them in for the Detroit Lions during football season.

The hub of culture in the city is the Detroit Institute of Arts, a museum featuring some of the finest art in the world. The nearby Fox Theatre performing arts center is a venue to view theatrical and musical productions. Likewise, the Detroit Opera House is a great place to catch the latest local and national performances.

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History displays prominent historical artifacts depicting the journey of African-Americans in the United States. And any visit to Detroit has to include a stop at the Motown Museum – Hitsville, U.S.A. – the home of the legendary music label that spawned countless top 40 hits throughout the 1960s and 70s.

Employment and Economy

Automotive manufacturing is still strong in Detroit, though healthcare, finance, and technology jobs drive the city's economy these days. General Motors is still based in the city, as is Quicken Loans, Little Caesars, Ally Financial, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Detroit, MI Households

  • Total Number of Households255,740
  • Family 144,266
    Non-family 111,474
  • Children 80,034
    No Children 175,706
  • Average People Per Household2.65
  • Median Household Income$25,764
  • Median Housing Costs Per Month$705

Education in Detroit

Wayne State University is located in Midtown Detroit, and has a medical and law school. The University of Detroit Mercy is another college with a law school in town. The College for Creative Studies, Lewis College of Business, and Marygrove College are a few other higher education institutions in Detroit.

The highest-rated elementary school in the district, according to Excellent Schools Detroit, is Charles Wright Academy of Arts and Sciences. And Renaissance High School is the top high school. Renaissance even earned the #1 High School in Detroit ranking from U.S. News and World Report, which also designated it as one of the top 10 high schools in Michigan and top 250 schools in the country.  

Detroit, MI Education Statistics

  • No High School6%
  • Some High School49%
  • Some College27%
  • Associate Degree6%
  • Bachelor Degree7%
  • Graduate Degree5%

Tips for Renting in Detroit

Detroit Rock City is waiting for you, but there are a few things you need to know before moving into your new place.

One of a renter’s rights in Detroit ensures that a landlord doesn't charge more than a month a half's rent as a security deposit.

To ensure that you get your deposit back when you move out, your landlord has to give you two copies of a move-in checklist. One week prior to moving in, you're required to check off any issues and give a copy to the landlord, making sure to keep one for yourself.

RENTCafé is your one-stop shop for finding a great new apartment in Detroit, MI. Easily search through a wide selection of apartments for rent in Detroit, MI, and view detailed information about available rentals including floor plans, pricing, photos, amenities, interactive maps, and thorough property descriptions. Property owners and managers are one click away, so feel free to contact them and find out all you need to know about the apartment you’re interested in. Browse Detroit, MI apartments with rents starting from $450 and submit your rental application today!