Make yourself at home.
From country comfort to city living, the Grand Traverse area is home to a unique blend of housing options. Looking for the convenience, walkability, and amenities of living within city limits? Start your search in the neighborhoods of downtown Traverse City for single-family houses, rentals, condos, and more. Looking for the peace and quiet of a small town? The quaint villages sprinkled across the Grand Traverse region offer a combination of acreage, country charm, and even lakeside living! Discover all the housing options the region has to offer. Look to relocation service providers to help you make your move.
*It is no secret that securing attainable housing is a challenge across the country, and our region is no exception. In addition to this informational resource, please learn about the efforts of our parent organization, Traverse Connect. Learn how Traverse Connect advocates for rural and small city housing through our Legislative Priorities and advocacy news. Traverse Connect supports the work of local organization Housing North.
START WITH A LOCAL REALTOR.
MEG ZAMMIT GROUP
Meet real estate expert and longtime resident, Meg Zammit.
Working with a local realtor gives you an advantage in a competitive market. As experts in their own region, local agents know the unique qualities of their area and the neighborhoods within. The Meg Zammit Group has spent years building relationships with agents throughout the region, which creates ease and access to the market for our clients.
“We’re not just local realtors. We’re heavily involved within the community. These are our neighbors, our clients, our friends.”
You may also recognize Meg from the Northern Navigator page! She serves as the chief ambassador for Michigan’s Creative Coast helping newcomers and prospective residents feel welcomed while offering knowledge of the regional lifestyle, recreation, schools, healthcare, industry and career opportunities.
NEED TO SELL FIRST?
“We have an extensive referral network within the United States. Allow us to help you find an agent in your area to help facilitate your move! Traverse City is more than just a beach town; it’s a vibrant and personality-rich environment constantly evolving and growing as newcomers, like you, discover the area. We love where we live, and we know you will too. Welcome home!”
Learn more about Meg Zammit Group and start a conversation today, or schedule a Northern Navigator meeting with Meg here.
Top TIPS fOR MOVING HERE
GET TO KNOW THE LAY OF THE LAND.
DOWNTOWN traverse city neighborhoods
Centered around the commercial heart of Traverse City, the neighborhoods of the city have developed unique characters of their own all while featuring a spectrum of affordability and convenience. From annual Halloween traditions to access to recreational trails, you will find special traits about each neighborhood as well as citywide happenings such as parades or Zombie Run races. However, with the ever-growing TART Trail system and walkable neighborhoods, no matter where you land within or near city limits, nothing is too far to commute via bike or walking in our small city.
Central Neighborhood has garnered a colorful reputation due to the unique sub-cultures you will find from block-to-block. The streets of Central Neighborhood come alive every Halloween and holiday season with festive decorations and community events, but you are sure to see neighbors enjoying the short stroll to town regardless of the time of year. Central Grade Elementary School, the oldest school in the city, occupies a full block on the northern end of the neighborhood.
Stretching from Front Street south to the Fourteenth Street corridor, Central Neighborhood offers a mix of rentals and Accessory Dwelling Units in addition to houses for sale. In Q3 of 2022, the average home sold for $754,142 in Central Neighborhood.
To the east of Boardman Lake, you will find the up-and-coming neighborhood for working families, millennials, and first-time homeowners: Traverse Heights. The neighborhood is considered a relatively more affordable area of town and includes Traverse Heights Elementary School within its boundaries, as well as ELEV8 Climbing Gym and the original Mundos Roasting Co. location!
The average home sold for $304,760 in Q3 of 2022 in the Traverse Heights area.
Traverse City’s northwest side is known as Slabtown, a reference to the scraps of wood used to build the homes of its first residents who were commonly employed as mill workers and woodworkers.
Slabtown features easy access to the beaches and trails along West Grand Traverse Bay and is home to three unique city parks, including Traverse City’s only dog park. Slabtown’s boundaries also include two elementary schools in the TCAPS and GTACS school systems. In Q2 of 2022, the average home sold for $679,409 in Slabtown.
Affectionately known as SoFo (South of Fourteenth) by its residents, this neighborhood extends West of Boardman Lake, southwards from the Fourteenth St corridor, buffering into the ‘last of the numbered streets’ in Traverse City. It’s the perfect blend of downtown feel meets suburban quietness. Many of the homes in this neighborhood were built in the mid 1960s and ’70s and offer mid-century modern architecture unique to the Midwest. While being a mere 20-minute walk to downtown Front Street this neighborhood is quiet and spacious offering large back yards and plenty of street space for the kids to play in the summer months, not to mention you’re right on the doorstep of the TART Trails 16th Street entrance to the Boardman Loop Trail. This up-and-coming neighborhood is not one to miss.
In Q2 2022, the average home sold for $588,575 in the SoFo neighborhood.
Venturing towards the water, you will find the Orchard Heights neighborhood at the base of the Old Mission Peninsula. The homes of Orchard Heights are only blocks from Grand Traverse Bay on either side, and you are a quick shot up the peninsula to find open spaces, rolling farms, and award-winning wineries. Orchard Heights also borders the campus of Northwestern Michigan College making it a convenient destination for students and staff alike.
In 2021, the average home sold for $579,602 in 2021 in the Orchard Heights area.
COUNTIES OF THE GRAND TRAVERSE REGION
GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY
Home to Traverse City, Grand Traverse County is the most populous of the five counties that make up the Grand Traverse Region. With Traverse City at the northern center of the county, it also encompasses the villages of Interlochen, Kingsley, and Fife Lake. Garfield, Blair, East Bay, Long Lake, and Acme townships feature extensive housing with short commutes to the region’s largest employers in Traverse City.
Grand Traverse County features an array of housing options, including city condos, subdivisions, farmhouses with acreage, and lakefront homes on Lake Michigan and inland lakes.
The average home sold for $401,955 in 2021 in Grand Traverse County.
Famously referred to as the little finger on the human-hand map variation of Michigan, Leelanau County is home to the nationally-renowned Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Bordered on three sides by Lake Michigan, Leelanau County’s charming beach towns are sprinkled along the lakeshore, including Suttons Bay, Northport, Leland, Glen Arbor, and Empire. Maple City and Cedar sit at the heart of the county.
Like Grand Traverse County, you’ll find lakefront homes on inland lakes, the most significant being Big and Little Glen Lakes and Lake Leelanau, and country living on the rolling hills and tucked into the woodlands. Leelanau County offers some of the best hiking, water recreation, and biking in the area, thanks to the Sleeping Bear Heritage and Leelanau trails.
The average home sold for $565,582 in 2021 in Leelanau County.
Benzie County is home to legendary locations like Point Betsie Lighthouse, The Cherry Hut, and the region’s only drive-in movie theater, The Cherry Bowl. Benzie County extends from Interlochen to the southern end of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Lake Ann, Beulah, Benzonia, and Frankfort offer quaint downtowns with breweries, cafés, and more. In the spaces between you’ll find miles of homes in the countryside and on inland lakes that offer recreational opportunities like fishing (in both summer and winter), canoeing, paddleboarding, kayaking, biking, and skiing at Crystal Mountain Resort.
The average home sold for $339,565 in 2021 in Benzie County.
Antrim County borders Grand Traverse Bay on its western edge, stretching to the middle of the tip of the mitten, encompassing Torch Lake and Lake Bellaire. Sprinkled throughout the county are quintessential northern Michigan small towns, including Alden, Elk Rapids, Bellaire, Central Lake, and Mancelona. Antrim County is known for its picturesque cherry farms and waterfront homes around Torch Lake. Summer recreation abounds as does downhill and cross-country skiing with Schuss Mountain and other popular ski resorts nearby in Charlevoix County.
The average home sold for $488,828 in 2021 in Antrim County.
Kalkaska County is an inland county with more than 20 lakes and extensive woodland, as the county contains much of the Marquette State Forest. Homes with ample acreage are common in the county, as are lakefront and riverfront homes. Kalkaska, Rapid City, and South Boardman are the largest communities in the county. Only a half-hour away from Traverse City, Kalkaska is the largest village in the county, with a small downtown and access to small restaurants and services, including a regional health center.
The average home sold for $235,361 in 2021 in Kalkaska County.
BUILD YOUR DREAM.
Whether you’re still considering or have already made a move to the region, building your own home might be the best fit for your lifestyle. Your home-building journey might begin with a builder or purchasing a lot. It’s important to keep in mind that building a home can be a long-term endeavor due to current supply limitations and the long list of projects that area builders have on the books.
The experts at the Meg Zammit Group recommend working with an agent to find the right piece of land to fit your building needs. It’s often advisable to speak with a builder prior to purchasing to understand what challenges or setbacks each parcel may present. Armed with this information, your agent can help you identify the ideal location for your new home.
SELECTING A BUILDER
The Home Builders Association of the Grand Traverse Area has several resources to guide those interested in building their home through the builder selection process. They also recommend verifying a builder’s license. Their annual Parade of Homes event offers ticket buyers the opportunity to tour new construction and newly remodeled homes in the region. Traverse Connect, the region’s business and economic development organization, offers a directory of builders and contractors.
SMALL AND SUSTAINABLE
Another option for those seeking to build their home may be a sustainable kit home. Hygge Supply is a northern Michigan builder of customizable kit homes, including one profiled in the New York Times and another featured in photos on Michigan’s Creative Coast. Beag + Haus builds tiny homes and is a collaboration between two northern Michigan natives.
THE BLUEPRINTS FOR SUCCESS
Two partners in love and architecture learn that building a life together often means ditching the plans. This episode features Charlotte and Peter Smith, co-founders of Designsmiths
FINDING A RENTAL
The Traverse City area is home to a diverse array of rental options. In Traverse City, you’ll find historic homes split into multi-family rentals, accessory dwelling units, and small to medium apartment buildings. Garfield Township is home to the area’s largest apartment communities, Lake Pointe Village, Liv Arbors, and Ridge 45, which are popular with young professionals relocating to the area. If you want to be walking distance to the downtown shops, consider TC Lofts, or if you’d like to be right on the outskirts of town, consider the new Edge 72 development. Homes for rent can be found across the region, but listings are less common. The Traverse City Ticker rounded up a number of rental options as well.
The most popular online tools for finding rentals are Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Zillow, and the Northern Great Lakes Realtor MLS. Many current residents find rentals through personal referrals. Our Northern Navigators could be your best rental referral. Book a meeting with a Navigator today!
ask your northern navigators
Mi Stanley serves as a City Commissioner for Traverse City. When it comes to the housing issues across the region, Mi encourages residents to attend Commission meetings on the first and third Mondays of every month to contribute your voice to the decision-making process.
THERE AREN’T MANY PLACES IN THE WORLD THAT OFFER THE NATURAL BEAUTY, QUALITY OF LIFE, AND ABILITY TO BE PART OF A REAL COMMUNITY THE WAY THAT TRAVERSE CITY DOES. YOU CAN MAKE A BIG IMPACT IN A SMALL TOWN.
I love the ability to be on the water in minutes and cherish the beautiful sunrises and sunsets. When I am not working I am running, hiking, attending one of my teen’s sporting/school events or spending time with friends. I enjoy our wonderful dining opportunities as well as wine tasting in the Grand Traverse Region.
IF YOU’RE THINKING OF A MOVE TO THE AREA, OR YOU HAVE RECENTLY MOVED TO THE AREA, LET ME BE YOUR CONNECTOR! I CAN INTRODUCE YOU TO COMMUNITY GROUPS, BUSINESS INDUSTRIES, AND OTHER FOLKS YOU MIGHT NEED TO KNOW.