Occasionally, I like to wade into the unwashed masses of humanity and anoint them with my knowledge. Recently, on a local forum I engaged the masses to combat a popular myth that Grosse Pointe’s best days are behind them. You can find one my responses below, unedited, and the full thread here.
Originally Posted by Bham1982
I think the Pointes will always be fine and relatively desirable, but I do think the home values have suffered relative to Oakland County (though admit I’m biased). Compare GP Park to Birmingham. I live in Birmingham and will admit the architecture in GP Park is 100 times better. No tacky mega-bigfoot homes, and relatively few bungalows/future teardown jobs. Yet Birmingham real estate values blow away the Pointes. I think, very conservatively, per square foot values run 2 to 2.5 times those of the Pointes. In Birmingham, 500k will not give you a family sized house and definitely nothing renovated and non-bungalow; in the Pointes it will give you something big, beautiful and distinctive, and in move-in condition.
GP For Life:
Bham gets it. Oakland County in general has some architectural abominations that merit trials at The Hague and there’s some gorgeous classic architecture as well. The prevalence of architectural atrocities is far-lower in the Pointes.
GP is located on one of the nicest freshwater lakes in the country for pleasure boating and part of the world’s largest freshwater systems. We can be at our boats in five minutes and on the water in ten. Our parks are essentially private clubs unto themselves, with comparable amenities and private marinas.
Another thing that’s oft overlooked is that GP is legitimately a community. Kids ride their bikes to school, to the corner store, and to the parks. We don’t have a highway running through the middle of town (which is nice, but is a drawback too) separating us from each other.
GP people, by and large, are more polite. I work in Bloomfield Hills and when I hold the door open for ladies and say please and thank you, people look at me strangely. Birmingham has less of those people, but in BH I am clearly an outlier.
Grosse Pointe has more of a classic sense of style as well. You see far less $300 jeans and Ed Hardy t-shirts and far more polos and pearls, as we say.
Yes, there’s less of a nightlife in GP, but then I can be downtown in ten minutes. I would also argue that the Park strip is coming back and with the increase economic activity in the area soon we’ll be back to the days of weekend evenings looking like mardi gras.
Is there less shopping in GP? Absolutely, go to Sommerset around Christmas time and then tell me you’re not thankful that it is 30 minutes away. The only thing worse than a mall at Christmas is listening to people complain about driving there the rest of the year. You can have your shopping and droves of aspirational undesirables clogging your roadways, thank you very much.
GP is far more tied to downtown than BH and Birmingham, which is tied far more to the faceless glass towers of Troy. Right now, I would be short suburban office space and long downtown office space, if I were looking at the trend. As for the demographic picture of GP (BH and Birmingham, as well) having masses of old people, just look at our county’s demographics. It was just worse here because for the last eight years young people couldn’t get a job in SE Michigan to save their life. That trend is starting to reverse.
By the way, someone mentioned something about liquid wealth in GP. I will say this, one wealth management office from a bulge bracket bank is the second-largest in the world as measured by assets under management. There’s an astounding amount wealth in SE Michigan in general and GP in particular, it’s just that there wasn’t any wealth generation for the last ten years.
Don’t count out GP, or BH and Birmingham. Though, I would say Birmingham is probably overvalued right now from a market perspective, otherwise I like that town. BH is just ghastly and filled with people of poor breeding and even worse bearing. I wouldn’t live there if you paid me.