Skip to main content

Detroit Will Remain Plagued by Housing Woes, Report Says

An aging population and decline in housing affordability are just two of the long-term issues residents of Detroit will face in coming years, according to a new report from the Urban Institute. It was published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 1967 riots that left Detroit burning.

Though the organization estimates that Southeast Michigan will grow by nearly 400,000 households over the next three decades—a boon for a city long crippled by its fleeing population—rapid growth could put pressure on a housing market unprepared to meet those demands. It's the first time in decades Detroit is expected to see net developmental growth; its population, once topping 1.8 million in 1950, has since fallen to a little over one-third of that size.

With that growth comes challenges, particularly when it comes to affordable housing: The Urban Institute reports that the slow-growing population will place more pressure on the affordable housing market, pushing lower-income households into less safe rentals. It adds that the fluctuating housing prices will also pose a challenge for the city's low-income residents, particularly African Americans, to pursue homeownership.

"The city of Detroit has a dedicated set of stakeholders and a single jurisdiction to work within, but the diversity and stark divides of suburban municipalities makes working across these boundaries especially difficult," the report concludes. "Smaller municipalities may not have the resources to identify and respond to important trends."