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Mason County is ripe with opportunity for residential development. It offers a hometown feel with a progressive urban vision for growth and stability. Our business and family-friendly communities provide a diverse variety of neighborhood settings from downtown apartment living to uncrowded rural settings. The winning combination of natural resources, cultural amenities, educational facilities, and medical services make it a front-runner on the list of choices to live, work, and play.


Number of Housing Units in Mason County

Cost of Living Index (National Average - 100)

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The Mason County Region is situated in West Michigan along the Lake Michigan shoreline with easy access to the major metropolitan areas in Michigan and the Midwest Region.  Driving distances to the larger metro areas are as follows:

  • Grand Rapids 1hr 28min
  • Traverse City 1hr 50 min
  • Chicago 3hr 47min
  • Detroit 3hr 36 min

HOUSING-whymason Thanks to a market study, recently performed in 2015, the Mason County Area has a very accurate market analysis of where the demand is for the Housing and Residential Development Market.  The study shows the overwhelming demand for certain housing types in the region, making this a potentially valuable investment for any developer.


Over 50% of the current housing stock in the Mason County region is 50 years or older.  With this, opportunities for retrofits, infill projects and developments are needed to serve the growing population in the region.  As millennial’s are relocating based on quality of life, housing stock that is modestly upgraded in key price points are in very high demand.


The cost of living index in the region is below the national average about 18 points.  Thanks to the higher paying skilled manufacturing and professional jobs that are required because of the other industrial clusters in the region, many new graduates and professionals are looking to land in this area because their dollar can go further.  With this, quality housing is needed in key price points that can serve this market.

The City of Ludington benefits from a physically large and thriving downtown with waterfront access, municipal marina, offering numerous investment opportunities for housing development with lakefront and lake-breeze amenities.

The list below provides a description of Ludington’s premier reinvestment efforts and opportunities.

  • The Bowling Alley Block Project: An entire city block in downtown Ludington is on the verge of being redeveloped into a 2-building, 4-story mixed-use development. The first floor will be reserved for commercial use and office space, and the three upper floors will be affordable housing, one structure dedicated to senior housing. Developers are currently awaiting final approvals and are anticipating construction will begin in 2017.
  • Pineview Apartment Expansion – Following the publication of the Residential Target Market Assessment (TMA), the owner of Pineview Apartments on Washington Ave. began looking into the possibility of expanding his apartment complex to the neighboring lot. The proposed development would add up to 8 new buildings, with a ballpark of 40 new multi-family units.
  • Pere Marquette Lake Waterfront – One Ludington Place, Harbor Front, and Harbor Terrace Condos are all relatively new projects that offer waterfront (or “lake breeze”) living choices that are walkable to Downtown Ludington. New developments on the waterfront will have trickle-through benefits for neighborhoods to the east.
  • Downtown Rental Rehabs – Recent efforts have added new downtown living options through the rehabilitation of apartments above street-front retail. In fact, the city has a proven track record with rehabbing its downtown living choices, and has completed 34 units under the Rental Rehab Program since 2007, which are almost 100% occupied.
  • East Ludington Avenue – For westbound traffic into Ludington, the eastern end of the downtown district is an important gateway. Bed-and-breakfasts along Ludington Avenue, large historic houses, apartment buildings, and seasonal cottages all contribute to the urban environment. Neighborhoods north and south of the corridor offer additional opportunities for rehabs and selective residential infill.




Village of Custer

Market Analysis

Based upon historical information it can be assumed that the rate of new residents to the area will continue to be stable through the next several years supporting the growth of residential development in Mason County. Quality of life amenities remain the focus of local reinvestment in efforts to maintain and improve an already high placemaking score. Place-based planning, investment, workforce development, urban and rural housing demand, and quality development projects are implemented with support of local and region business support resources to collectively reinforce the Ludington, Scottville, and Custer economy.

Developers have a wealth of information available to them through the 2015 Residential Target Market Analysis Report for supporting the development and rehabilitation of housing to address the demand in both the renter and owner-occupied markets, and in both the affordable and market-rate markets.

City of Scottville

The City of Scottville is located about 10 minutes east of Ludington, and although it is relatively small, inboard, and lacks lake access, it is a formidable contender in competing for resident families and downtown merchants. Scottville offers affordable alternatives to Ludington, and has a small- town appeal that is somewhat buffered from tourism traffic. It is a graduate of the Michigan Cool Cities program and is a designated Michigan Main Street community. With support from the Michigan Main Street Center, Scottville is to be commended for retaining its downtown vitality and being economically resilient.

Housing Costs

Median Mo. Housing Costs: $718

State of Michigan Avg: $882

Median Mo. Rent Costs: $525

State of Michigan Avg: $623

Median Value (owner-occupied unit) $117,000

State of Michigan Median Value Avg. $121,700


Occupied Housing Units 12,470

Owner-Occupied 9,242

Renter-Occupied 3,228

Cost of Living Index

Mason County, MI 82.4

National Average 100.0

Housing Sizes

Based on Bedroom Capacity

Percentage Based on Total Units

Studio (no bedroom) 1%

1 Bedroom 10%

2 Bedrooms 31%

3 Bedrooms 38%

4 Bedrooms 14%

5 or more Bedrooms 6%

Age of Housing Stock

Percentage based on total units

1939 and prior 23%

1940-1959 16%

1960-1979 24%

1980-1999 23%

2000-current 14%