There has been much talk about a “brain-drain” in Michigan – people packing up and moving away from the state – but many young professionals are turning to Detroit as a place to live, work, and thrive.

According to real estate broker Austin Black, 95% of his clients are looking to move into Detroit. “I represent a broad spectrum of young professionals, empty nesters, even people with kids,” said Black, “they want to see themselves contributing to the greater good of the city.”

Black suggests that some of Detroit’s up-and-coming neighborhoods, like the Midtown area, are also responsible for the trend. 

“(Midtown) is one area that’s really starting to develop into its own identity; people see the vibrancy that’s going on in the neighborhood and want to be a part of it,” Black explained.

Among those Detroit residents attracted to the vibrancy of the city is Matt Clayson, director of the Detroit Creative Corridor Center. “My wife and I, we came for the houses, for the sky rises, to be close to the river,” Clayson said, “it’s a great community, it’s tight-knit, and everyone is a little eccentric in their own way.”

Detroit’s unique character and cultural significance offer its residents a place not only to live, but an identity, and an opportunity to be a part of something greater.

“Love it or hate it people know Detroit, it’s got that brand … we’re manufacturing, we’re automobile, we’re music, we’re bold, we’re in your face, we’re a little loud,” said Clayson.

 (Copyright 2010 WWJ Radio.  All Rights Reserved.)

  1. Charles says:

    Is Austin Black the only source in this trend story? I should certainly say that at least 95 percent of his clients are looking for homes the city. As far as I can tell from his web site, he ONLY does city properties. Which, by the way, is what I’d call an ulterior motive for saying good things about it. I’m all for more positive coverage of the city, but that doesn’t justify triteness of this magnitude.

    Also, define young professional.

  2. Jon Dones says:

    Charles, agreed, could have talked to more real estate people representing detroit home properties. Real Estate reps are definitely a great source of knowing what/who is looking in detroit and who is buying, why they are doing it and what they want to do.
    No one moves to Detroit because the insurance rates are so high, or that you can live in close proximity to blight. People are moving down here because there is a great potential to build and be part of their own community, with new definitions of living standards within an urban context. Its a creative and progressive and positive wave of people looking at Detroit as a playground for testing new ideas and new models for development.
    The young professionals, as vague as that sounds, are the people plotting these new models of living and the people willing to try them out.
    This article needs a follow up – spot light more of these “young professionals” let them tell the story, people need to hear it.

  3. Jess says:

    I just moved from Detroit from DC, originally from California — I’d be interested to hear whether these professionals are returning Michigan “expats” or actually coming from somewhere else. Though I’ve met a few, I haven’t met a whole lot of young professionals who don’t have some kind of connection with the metro area at the very least.

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