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Posted on Sun, May 5, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Rent comparison: What can you get for $2,500 a month around Ann Arbor?

By Lizzy Alfs


A rendering of the Ann Arbor City Apartments in downtown Ann Arbor shows the rooftop bar and Zen garden.

Courtesy of Village Green

Related story: Luxurious Ann Arbor City Apartments now leasing on West Washington Street

Rental rates at the under construction Ann Arbor City Apartments on West Washington Street are poised to reach new highs for apartments downtown.

The monthly rates at the building — which is packed with amenities like a rooftop bar, 24/7 fitness center and underground parking — ranges between $1,435 for a 600-square-foot studio unit and $2,675 for a 1,140-square-foot two-bedroom unit.

The average monthly rent in the building is between $1,895 and $1,975, and tenants pay their own utilities.

Ann Arbor developer and landlord Ed Shaffran of the Shaffran Companies said an annual $28.70 per square foot for a studio unit in the Ann Arbor City Apartments is among the highest prices he’s seen for downtown apartments. Although, yearly rates at downtown buildings such as 111 North Ashley and Liberty Lofts — which were both developed as condominiums — can exceed $30 per square foot.

Shaffran owns 32 luxury loft apartment units in the area and said his usually rent at or below $20 per square foot.


The units at Plymouth Green Crossings, which was originally developed as condos, include fireplaces and other amenities. file photo

“For sure in the city, for garden apartments, we don’t know of anything that compares in our portfolio and for the comparable market studies we conduct,” added Albert Berriz, CEO of McKinley Inc., via email.

So how does the Ann Arbor City Apartments building stack up? For a similar price range, here’s what you can rent around Ann Arbor:

  • The mixed-use Plymouth Green Crossings building on Plymouth just west of Green was developed in 2008 as luxury loft condominiums. When the housing market grew soft, the 23-units were marketed for lease as apartments.

A 1,400-square-foot furnished 2BR is listed for $3,000 a month. The unit includes a fireplace, hardwood floors, granite counters, an outdoor terrace and stainless steel appliances.

  • Looking for more space? A number of houses in the Ann Arbor area are listed for rent, including a 5BR, 3,042-square-foot home at 1789 Cedar Lane that’s going for $2,900. A 4BR, 1,924-square-foot house at 3228 Bluett is listed for $2,400.


A home at 1789 Cedar Lane is listed for lease for $2,900 a month.

"For about $2500 a month off campus, you are usually looking at a newer built 3 to 4 bedroom house (with) modern amenities," said David McNamara of Ann Arbor's Foxway Realty via email.

He recently rented a home on Lafayette Lane in Scio Township for $2250 a month, and a 4BR home on Berwick in Ypsilanti Township for $1,800.

  • Downtown condominium buildings 111 North Ashley, Sloan Plaza and Liberty Lofts have rentable units at a similar price range. An 803-square-foot 1BR in 111 North Ashley, located on the corner of Ashley and Huron streets, is going for $2,200, or an annual $32.88 per square foot.

A bedroom inside a condo/apartment units at 111 North Ashley in downtown Ann Arbor.


An 844-square-foot 1BR Liberty Lofts condo on William and Second streets is listed for $2,500, or an annual $35.55 per square foot. A 2BR, 1,494-square-foot unit at Sloan Plaza on East Huron is listed for $2,750, or $22.09 per square foot.

  • Want a swimming pool and tennis court? The Lake Village Apartments on the south side of Ann Arbor have 3BR, 1,700-square-foot units listed for $2,575. Habitat Co. LLC purchased the complex in 2012 for a record-setting $115,277 per unit.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Mon, May 6, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

My place is considered "Luxury apartments" and while they're not downtown, they're darn close. I'm paying 1800/mo for a 3 bedroom. I feel better - I felt like I was being robbed.


Mon, May 6, 2013 : 12:21 p.m.

zigziggityzoo, is way off, my ex-wife salary was list $12,000 less than what her W2 was.

Jay Thomas

Mon, May 6, 2013 : 3:56 a.m.

A two income couple each making something in the 40's could afford this. Housing cost is suggested at 1/4 of income.

Dirty Mouth

Mon, May 6, 2013 : 1:15 a.m.

I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around these super trendy condos/apartments in these glitzy towers in the middle of Ann Arbor. If I wanted to live like that I would, but not in Ann Arbor. Maybe in Chicago, Cleveland, or NYC; they just seems so out of scale (and character) for A2. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for higher density in the downtown area in order to prevent sprawl, but nonetheless, these towers seem more like monuments to the DDA and City Council than they do comfortable living. Of course, this is all coming from someone who lives in a Cape Cod, 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath, with a detached garage with a beautiful rose garden and porch swing. Oh well.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 10:36 a.m.

Exactly. You'd think increasing the supply of available housing would push prices down. Maybe it will for the existing apartments, but probably not. My guess is it will just be another addition to the top-tier rentals and everything else will stay just as expensive as before. Which means people still having to commute in and clog up the highways and streets every day.

Dirty Mouth

Mon, May 6, 2013 : 12:55 p.m.

ordmad, w/o the DDA this project would have never moved forward.


Mon, May 6, 2013 : 3:18 a.m.

What's the DDA got to do with it?


Mon, May 6, 2013 : 1:44 a.m.

Higher density downtown at these prices won't prevent sprawl.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 11:02 p.m.

some us will never be able to afford the luxury in Ann Arbor ,i m looking for a places to split $500 in rant in Ann Arbor :( sorry sand rich people wasting so much money on rant only avoid the poor ANN Arbor.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 10:42 p.m.

What can you get for $2500 around Ann Arbor? A bunch of arrogant, demanding, coddled college students. I have a feeling if someone did a top 10 list of highest percentage of arrogant, demanding, coddled college students, Ann Arbor would be in the top 5. Yeah Ann Arbor....

Michigan Reader

Sun, May 5, 2013 : 11:34 p.m.

This article is about real estate, not its occupants.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 10:08 p.m.

My financial situation would look very different if I didn't have the monthly expense of a vehicle. And I wouldn't have a vehicle if I lived right downtown. That being said, it's still above my pay grade. But I seriously doubt there will be trouble filling the building. Having owned a home for almost 10 years now (and having gone through 1 roof, 5 windows, 1 deck, new plumbing and electrical, 3 water heaters, 2 washing machines, 1 furnace and a tornado...and that doesn't even address the outside care) I can appreciate the benefits of renting. This could really benefit the downtown area.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 7:39 p.m.

A house on Bluett rents for 2400? LOL Please.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 11:29 p.m.

I get that Gill. I own several rental homes. I just don't see a home on Bluett that too me is worth paying 2400 a month to rent.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 9:05 p.m.

Taxes on non-owner occupied housing is insanely high. The Bluett house paid $7414 in tax last year. If you have a moderate mortgage and home insurance, consider $1200 a month for that. So just for mortgage, tax, and home insurance, that's about $1800 a month.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 7:09 p.m.

For $2500 a month, I could rent my place (2 miles from Main st) almost 3-times over.


Mon, May 6, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

Huh, johnnya2? 1) It's not my place, I rent it. 2) It's a condo, not a house. 3) I'd love to live in town, but obviously I can't afford it. :)


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 11:57 p.m.

Reading comprehension alert!


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 11:30 p.m.

Well Griffin, funny how you DONT do that. BECAUSE nobody would pay it. Why? Your house isnt worth that much to people., But you go ahead and stay there and judge people who want something different than you do .


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 7:15 p.m.

I live near Michigan Stadium and $2,500 per month is more than 3.5 times my rent.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 6:26 p.m.

Or a historic home within walking distance of Ypsi bars and restaurants for half that.


Mon, May 6, 2013 : 4:25 p.m.

The YHD is the third largest historic district in the state.


Mon, May 6, 2013 : 3:15 a.m.

Sure, all 10 of them. Disingenuous to compare the two places.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 3:43 p.m.

Sounds like NYC revisited. The smallest apt in NYC goes for $900 and it is about less then 1000 square foot. I guess NYC builders are here to stay.

Lizzy Alfs

Mon, May 6, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

Papers in bigger cities have been writing about the "micro loft/micro apartment" trend. "In Boston, where most homes are at least 450 sq. ft., the city has approved 300 new units as small as 375 sq. ft. "


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 6:07 p.m.

NYC also has rent control to protect long term renters who would otherwise quickly be squeezed out.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 6:06 p.m.

Wrong, Mike. There are NYC studio apartments in Manhattan for $900 and up. There are many in the $2,000/mo range. Go to the NYTimes website and look at the real estate section and do a search.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 4:34 p.m.

$900.00? Maybe in 1977.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 3:22 p.m.

Not sure you can compare the luxury of living in an apartment that is conveniently located, where utilities are minimal, and is desireable VS living in a rented house that is far too big in the outlying territories and requires indoor and outdoor upkeep, where utilities run in the upper hundreds every month, and where those expenses can run up to another 1500 a month --- that 2600.00 house becomes a 4000.00 house very quickly. Not a fair comparison.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 9:23 p.m.

Please tell us what you call the "outlying terrirories". Is that the part of Ann Arbor where 95% of the population lives? And you are spending $1500 a month on WHAT expenses again? Utilities and "upkeep"? Get real.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

More interesting to the majority of wage earners is: What's the total number of units in this high-end category and are they included in "average apartment prices" in Ann Arbor? Featuring only the biggest & best, most expensive is a kind of advertisement which can be classified as psychological indoctrination by landlords and real estate agents. Why not feature something realistic, like the best apartments available for those earning an average income?


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 3:24 p.m.

This apartment complex isn't being geared toward those earning an average income. Therefore the comparison is apt for this article. I agree, I'd like to see an article about middle-of-the-road apartments as well.

Paula Gardner

Sun, May 5, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

We do plan that - glad to hear you'd want to read it! I can't ever imagine paying this kind of rent, but do find it interesting to see the price range comparison.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 2:43 p.m.

If you pay $2500 a month for an apartment what you get 20 years later is the feeling that you should have saved more for your retirement.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 6:53 p.m.

Apartments are amazing opportunities for cities such as ANn Arbor where many people are not planning on staying more than 3-5 years. Buying for a short term stay is actually economically not sound, especially in this economic climate. So actually, these individuals ARE planning for their retirement as to not take a huge loss on buying a selling short term.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 3:45 p.m.

But you get nothing in return investment. I have a house and I have a retirement. I guess I have a place to live while retiring and not shelling out that sum of money and looking over my vast deck at home. Apartments are a very bad idea and at this price? Might want to consider moving to NYC if you have that kind of money to invest.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 3:24 p.m.

If you pay 2500.00 a month for an apartment you don't care about what you are saving for your retirement -- that's already been taken care of.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 2:09 p.m.

The comments about how can people pay this much are naive. Did anyone read the article? The whole piece was about what else you can get in AA fro $2000-2500. I don't see any comments on why people would pay $2000 to live in Ypsi Twp? Well here's one: I would much rather pay $2000 and live within walking distance of amazing restaurants, bars, nightlife, than in a place that I guess is closer in driving distance to Walmart and Target.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 10:38 p.m.

You can live within walking distance of amazing restaurants, bars, and nightlife in Ypsilanti too. But you have to visit Ypsilanti to know that. So, please, visit Ypsi.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 3:26 p.m.

Absolutely agree --- I am personally waiting for more information about the condos going up on the old Greek church site in Kerrytown -- I know they will be outrageously overpriced, but I don't care -- that's where I want to live and I'll pay for it.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

$30K per year and no equity? I guess you do have that nice view of Mark's Carts though ...


Mon, May 6, 2013 : 1:31 a.m.

How's that "build equity" thing working for all those underwater on their mortgages?


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 11:25 p.m.

Don't want to take care of your equity? They have this new thing called "condominiums" that may be for you.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

I think the notion of wealth equating to equity are outdated --- people don't want to bother with taking care of houses.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sun, May 5, 2013 : 1:30 p.m.

This isn't New York


Thu, Aug 1, 2013 : 7:56 p.m.

ahh...but Ann Arbor sooooo wants to be a little piece of the Big Apple....

Homeland Conspiracy

Sun, May 5, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.

Ok how about this isn't Aspen or Boulder Colorado & if they can get $2500.00 per month then I'm sure they will shoot for $6000.00 soon


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 3:27 p.m.

Correct -- a NYC apartment of comparable location and size would run you between 6000 and 11000 dollars a month.

Rick Neubig

Sun, May 5, 2013 : 11:56 a.m.

Sorry, the comments about top 1% income are way off base. If you take the average rent of $1950 per month for these units and use the guideline of no more than 33% of gross for rent you get an annual gross income of $70,909 a year. That is a very good income but nowhere near top 1%. A recent story from NBC says that to be in the top 1% of incomes in the US "In fact, it took a little less than $370,000 in adjusted gross income in 2010".


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

Using 33% of your gross income on rent is a good way to get into financial trouble in a hurry. 25% of your gross pay is what they used to recommend, back when people weren't completely over their heads in debt. Hmmm, I wonder why they didn't incur so much debt then...


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 3:31 p.m.

1 percenter has become Ann Arbor slang for those who don't work for the University, have good income, and don't much care about Occupy Ann Arbor...

Jack Gladney

Sun, May 5, 2013 : 1 p.m.

Sorry, Rick. "One-Percenters" is an Ann Arbor colloquialism for people who have or make more money than you do, or someone who has something that you cannot afford to own. Example: "Hey Kay, did you see that one-percenter with the nice manicure in her new car cut me off as she turned into the parking garage of her luxury apartment!?"


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 11:20 a.m.

I guess we have more 1%'s living here than I thought, anyone who could afford to pay high rent must be making big bucks.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 11:16 a.m.

You can buy a home (with a mortgage) for that kind of money...


Mon, May 6, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

@GoNavy: That's not quite true. And certainly as far as taxing authorities go the home is where the value is, not the land. Real estate investments come in many flavors, be it a REIT or an income-generating rentable unit or something else. As I mentioned, a home is not a bad place to park your money. If one is looking to "get rich" from home ownership then, no, its not an investment in that sense for the majority. I have been careful not to call a home an "investment" because I consider it more of an asset.


Mon, May 6, 2013 : 11:42 a.m.

@1bit- You inadvertently hit the real nail on the head: That real estate is an investment - not the consumable improvement built on top of it. A home in and of itself is not an investment.


Mon, May 6, 2013 : 10:36 a.m.

@Chris: Any investment can lose money. Only those who bought high and sold low have lost money (or those who paid more than they could afford). A home is not a get rich quick scheme, but one could argue that it is a better place to park your money in the long run compared to a bank (or maybe even the stock market). Real estate investment is part of a diversified portfolio.


Mon, May 6, 2013 : 1:29 a.m.

Houses are not investments. Hope you learned that in the last decade..


Mon, May 6, 2013 : 1:21 a.m.

@johnnya2: Wow. You're reading a bit much into this - I'm not telling anyone where to live or how to spend their money. If you think $30,000/year for rent isn't a lot of money then kudos to you. Sure home ownership has additional costs but so does apartment living; for example if you are going to actually enjoy the night life and restaurants then you'll spend more there. Having lived and rented many apartments, it's no panacea. Sure somebody will fix your water heater or leaky faucet or furnace or dishwasher, when they get to it. The cost to fix these things is built into the rent. For me, as I'm pretty handy when it comes to repairs, it doesn't bother me to fix up my home. And then there are the neighbors above, below and to each side of you. I've had great apartment neighbors over the years and others not-so-much. One place had airplane stewardesses on the upper floor; another place had strippers. One place had drug dealers working out of the security gate at the entry. There are some cities where I wouldn't mind living downtown - but it depends on the city. In the end, it's personal preference. Some people buy their cars (like me) and some people lease their cars (sounds like that's your thing). I like ownership even with all its baggage. My home is might be a dump, but at least it's my dump. And, heck, maybe I'll even invest in one of these places so people like you will pay me to live there.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 11:22 p.m.

@1bit, So if you have a job where you might need to move quickly, what do you do? Oh thats right, you should leave town and hope your home sells. Another couple of things all you "home ownership si so great" crowd forget is that $2000 mortgage will bring you what in property taxes? How much in home owners insurance? Where is your EXACT location for that? Comparing what YOU find important to what somebody else wants is ridiculous. I could make the argument that living in Ann Arbor is stupid when you could buy a mansion in Detroit for that same $2000 mortgage payment. Some people WANT to live downtown. Tell me where you buy this house downtown that is BRAND NEW that gives you the freedom and flexibility of an apartment. I am sure as a home owner you have NEVER had to replace a furnace, water heater, appliance, roof, siding, refrigerator, carpet. Never had a leaky faucet. Renters have ZERO expense for those things.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 7:48 p.m.

@Halter: True enough, but surely if you can afford $2500/month on rent then you could afford to pay $2000/month on a mortgage and $500/month for someone to maintain it. It just seems to me that paying $30,000/year on rent is not the greatest investment.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 3:22 p.m.

A lot of people don't want to take care of homes (or mortgages). I don't, I sold my house and moved back to an apartment, I hated everything about home ownership.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 10:31 a.m.

curious as to how that dollar figure was chosen it's insanely out of line for the average household income in Michgan


Thu, Aug 1, 2013 : 7:53 p.m.

@anti-thug...the "Real" median income for the City of Ann Arbor as of the latest reporting, 2011 is actually $84,000/yr not $45,000.


Mon, May 6, 2013 : 12:22 p.m. is Not a good souse, incomes are not true on this site.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 11:06 p.m.

the average household income in Ann Arbor is realy only 45,000 and many other cases not even that ,not even close. dont tell im rich when my pokets empty.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 2:45 p.m.

@a2citizen that is not true across the board. Look them up yourselves at


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 2:41 p.m.

A2Citizen: "Salaries at the um are insanely out of line with private industry." How do you figure? The university is competing with private firms for every employee, just like anyone else. What incentive do they have to overpay the market value? Charity from the goodness of their hearts?

Michigan Reader

Sun, May 5, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

At for-profit properties, the rates are set according to what the market will bear. This is true for all rentals and home sales, even the lower priced ones. It's one of the features of the free market economy.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

This sounds like insanity to me. I can understand that rent is going to be higher in urban areas compared to rural areas, but from where I come from, you can OWN a very nice home for $1000 a month. I can't imagine paying upwards of $3000 a month on an apartment just to live in downtown.


Sun, May 5, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

Salaries at the um are insanely out of line with private industry.

Paula Gardner

Sun, May 5, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

We chose the figure because of the pricing on the new apartments under construction downtown. The rent sounded quite high, so we thought it would be interesting to show what other types of properties are priced in a similar range.