Metro Detroit Cities Deep Dive: Redford Township
If you’re interested in buy-and-hold rental opportunities, then you’ve likely heard of Metro Detroit’s strong rental market and its affordable housing stock. With the overwhelming variations between its cities and within individual neighborhoods, many out-of-state and out-of-the-country investors have difficulties in understanding where to buy.
We’ve decided to use our lifetime of experience as local residents and property managers to put together a “Metro Detroit City Deep Dive” series, where we take a close look at the strengths and weaknesses of each Metro Detroit area, one at a time.
We developed a list of criteria that will help you evaluate the rental investment potential of each neighborhood, looking at the factors which most influence the expected returns you’ll get from your properties, and what type of management they’ll require.
To kick off the series, we’re looking at Redford, technically a township, but realistically a city, in Wayne County, Michigan, that’s particularly popular with rental owners.
Redford abuts northwest Detroit, with a population of around 47,213 (27% of whom are renters), who enjoy going to Redford’s many parks, and tend to lean liberal. Residents are mostly families and young professionals, being a solid blue-collar neighborhood that’s relatively safe (even though it borders the city of Detroit).
But is Redford a good place to buy a rental property? Let’s jump into it starting with the most important factor: Money.
According to Zillow, homes in Redford have a median rent price of $1,050 per month. Rents have grown by roughly 15% over the past five years, although they’ve dipped slightly YOY due to coronavirus:
HOUSE VALUE & APPRECIATION
According to Zillow.com, the average house value in Redford is $115,889. Over the last 5 years prices have increased steadily as the graph below shows. Prices have increased 4.4% during the past year.
House prices in the northern and eastern parts of Redford tend to be the highest, while values in the south and west (closest to the City of Detroit) are generally lower, due to their proximity to the city. As a general rule with all Metro Detroit cities, the further you get from Detroit itself, the higher the property values tend to be.
RENT-TO-PRICE RATIO (The 1% Rule)
Dividing the monthly rent by the purchase price is a quick and easy way to determine if a rental property will produce positive cash flow. It’s not foolproof, though, so use with caution.
For Redford, the average rent of $1,050 divided by the average price of $115,00, leads to an average rent-to-price ratio of 0.9%. With a little bit of patience and hard work, an investor can find properties to buy that exceed a 1% rent-to-price ratio.
QUALITY OF TENANTS, PROPERTIES, AND LIVING
We’ve developed some quantitative scores (from grades A through F) for the type of tenants, properties, and quality of living you’ll expect to find in Metro Detroit areas - all factors which heavily influence the success of a rental investment. These scores are based on a variety of data points, and our own local knowledge, but they’re just meant to provide a rough guide for helping newcomers assess and understand individual Metro Detroit neighborhoods.
Average Property Class and Condition: B-
According to Niche.com, more than half of residents say that the quality of homes is excellent, and there are few vacant or abandoned areas in Redford.
Average Property Age: 62 years
This average means there’ll be some older homes that may require updates to HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems, as well as updates to kitchens and baths. So, be sure to investigate these potential issues and price offers accordingly.
Your neighborhood class will also determine the types of tenants you get. That’s why understanding the type of area you’re buying in is so important - because the quality of tenants you get will impact your rental’s cashflow profitability more than any other single factor.
Quality of Life in the Neighborhood: A-
Similarly, it’s important to get to know the neighborhood where your property is located before you buy, so you know what types of tenants you’re likely to attract, and can be sure that your neighborhood is in demand amongst high-quality applicants.
Here’s a summary of how life in Redford stacks up:
- Local Economy - With Ford opening up their futuristic Advanced Manufacturing Center in Redford back in 2018, the neighborhood is no longer a stranger to big companies. Around a hundred employees work at this cutting-edge plant, using advanced technologies, 3D printing, augmented/virtual reality tools, digital manufacturing, top-tier robotics, and more. Ford will continue to mass-produce its high-quality mobiles, putting Redford on the map with highly-skilled, white-collar workers looking for a short commute to work.
- School Rankings - There are notable public schools in the area, as well as a few respected private schools, making Redford popular with families who have younger children. Redford Union High School, however, which covers the southern part of Redford, has been ranked 624 out of 666 high schools in Michigan (according to schooldigger.com), so it’s not the strongest school system in the Metro Detroit area. As we said earlier, the northern half of Redford is serviced by a different school system, making properties there more desirable (and therefore, pricier).
- Crime and Safety - A large majority of residents feel safe, with more than half saying they’re not affected by crime, and that their local police are responsive and visible in the area (according to Niche.com). Most of Redford has a statistically low crime rate, although the area closest to downtown (just north of I-96 issomewhat of a hot zone.
- Income - Slightly higher than the national average ($56,377 per household), with a rent-to-income ratio of 22%. This is a great indicator of a rental investment’s strength, since the lower this ratio is, the more likely it is that tenants here will pay rent in full and on time (30% or below is a good rent-to-income ratio). Compared to other cities in Michigan, incomes in Redford are consistent with the average.
- Unemployment - Slightly lower than the national average
- Education - Again, roughly on par with the national average. 20.59% of people in Redford have achieved a bachelor’s degree or above, while the national average is 21.84%.
- Diversity - See below
Liveability - Areavibes.com tells us that Redford ranks #18 out of neighborhoods in the Detroit area, and #52 in the state of Michigan as a whole. There are plenty of amenities, the cost of living is 13% lower than the national average, and nightlife and transportation are both good, making it attractive to younger tenants who want access to a decent downtown area.
Tenant Class and Demographics: B-
The quality of tenants in a rental plays a big part in the performance of any investment property. So it’s important to know what kind of tenants live in an area before buying.
We’ve assessed the tenant pool of Redford based on these key factors (all data is from Niche.com):
Based on these details, the tenant class is on the higher end of the Metro Detroit spectrum. This means they are of good quality, and shouldn’t give you too many problems, making Redford a relatively low-risk investment area.
OVERALL SCORE: B
Taking all of these factors into account, we can confidently say that Redford’s overall rental investment score is a B. With affordable purchase prices, consistent value appreciation, strong cash flow opportunities, and good local amenities that attract quality tenants, it’s one of the most popular Metro Detroit areas for landlords looking for a relatively safe investment.
It’s all about the money at the root of every investment--that’s why we put more emphasis on the financials when calculating our overall scores, but it should be said that every property scoring system is somewhat subjective. Based on our experience of the area, Redford is a solid investment neighborhood, but don’t just take our word for it - go out and screen the area yourself!
This is the first installment in our deep dive series on Metro Detroit neighborhoods, but we’ll be updating you with a closer look at other areas in the weeks to come, until we’ve covered them all. So check back to find the next deep dive soon!
Any specific areas that you’d like to know about? Leave a comment below, and we’ll be sure to cover it in one of our next installments.
Image Courtesy of Quintin Gellar