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Detroit homes that sold for $500,000 or more in 2017 By Paula Gardner

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Detroit has beautiful homes.

The city grew up with the automobile as the industry creating it also created wealth. As Detroiters became wealthy, they build beautiful homes and created the neighborhoods that we still value today: Indian Village, Boston-Edison and Palmer Woods.

However, we also know that in recent years the city has struggled, sending 100,000 properties into public ownership as the Great Recession and bankruptcy took a toll on its residents and its housing stock.

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Some still may consider this house typical in the city. It's near 7 Mile and Southfield, and  available for $1,000 through the Detroit Land Bank.

But it doesn't tell Detroit's full real estate story.

As investors see bargains - and as dilapidated homes are either renovated or demolished - the city's real estate market is improving. That's just one piece of the economic puzzle as the city aims to grow population, jobs and the overall economy.

Another part of the market involves higher-dollar single-family sales. These tend to include the elegant properties born of Detroit money, and they start in Detroit at $500,000. And this year, there were dozens of those sales.

Detroit's real estate market continues to rebound.

Sales trends in the city show an improving real estate market. Data from Realcomp as of the end of November showed that sales of single family homes increased about 20 percent in the first 11 months of the year, while the median sales price increased 27.5 percent.

That median sales price is now $25,500 - compared to $27,500 in November - and that shows some of the challenges in the sprawling city's market.

Meanwhile, the number of new listings still is 2.8 percent lower than 2016, adding more pressure to the market.

 

This is a glimpse into Detroit's high-end market.

In a city where the median home price is under $30,000, it may seem extraordinary to consider a high-end market. However, it exists, and it grew in 2017. I found more than 30 residential properties that sold through mid-December for $500,000 or more, with the help of Redfin. Among them are several in the Willys Overland Lofts redevelopment in Midtown. It's a project that started in the mid-2000s before the Detroit market plummeted; its revival is driving many pricier sales.

Another 30 $500,000-plus homes are now listed for sale, according to Realtor.com. Many are in the same neighborhoods and condo complexes as listed in this report. One to watch for the future: the 24 court houses in Lafayette Park, the mid-century neighborhood designed by Mies van der Rohe. Demand continues to push the prices there. One sold for $560,000 in 2016, and more are listed.

The pricing isn't comparable to neighboring Oakland County's high-end market, where $1 million isn't a rare plateau. Many of the prices here look more like what you'd get with a semi-custom home from a production builder in the suburbs. But, in other ways, what a difference.

Here's what I found in the city's sales data.

 

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