Arab Americans flocking west, raising property values in Dearborn-Dearborn Heights area

(Courtesy of Arab American News)

Arab Americans flocking west, raising property values in Dearborn-Dearborn Heights area
By Samer Hijazi

Friday, 02.15.2013, 12:06am - DEARBORN / DEARBORN HEIGHTS -Local real estate agents will agree that the real estate market is booming in west Dearborn and Dearborn Heights, with many Arab American families heading west to seek properties in the same neighborhoods, spiraling into a shortage of inventory in selective areas as demand continues to grow.

According to Sam Baydoun, a real estate agent from the office of Century 21 Curran and Christie in Dearborn, locals are overbidding on houses in Dearborn Heights, especially near the Beech Daly-John Daly-Inkster Rd areas. Other hot spots being sought by families and new homeowners are in west Dearborn, near Outer drive and Cherry Hill. Baydoun says the trend has only intensified within the last year or so.

"The real estate market right now is on fire in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights, especially in the area code of 48127. There are a lot of buyers and not too many properties, which is giving us a shortage of inventory. I have been doing this for 26 years and I have never seen inventory this low," Baydoun said.

Baydoun was able to provide some figures regarding the local market. Currently in Dearborn, there are 236 active properties up for sale and another 303 properties that are in pending status, but are off the market because they have been sold. In Dearborn Heights, the numbers are even lower. There are currently only 148 active listings, and another 187 properties that are in pending status. Baydoun says before this boom, it wouldn't be unusual for 700-800 homes to be on sale in either city.

It appears that Arab Americans seem adamant on wanting to secure a home in these areas. Baydoun says when homes hit the market, they end up selling in less than a week, sometimes even less than a day or two. Locals are also willing to overbid on prices just to secure a home. Baydoun says it's very common right now for a home in Dearborn Heights to sell more than the asking price.

"A bank home could be listed for $100,000, and it will end up getting sold for $115,000 or $120,000," Baydoun said. "The demand is there, a lot of people who are moving from smaller homes in Dearborn are looking in the area of West Dearbon and Dearborn Heights."

Another real estate agent from the same office, Ali Charara, echoed in on Baydoun's statements. Charara believes Arab American residents in the area want to stay close to the established Dearborn community, so they aren't venturing far off. He says a lot of shuffling seems to be going on. South-end residents of Dearborn, which includes the Yemeni community, are beginning to move into east Dearborn, while current east Dearborn residents are looking to move to west Dearborn and Dearborn Heights. Those families are mostly Lebanese families.

"The Dearborn Heights area is becoming just like it was for Dearborn in the 1980's, when the Lebanese community was beginning to move into the Dearborn Area. It won't be long before Dearborn Heights becomes the new east Dearborn," Charara said.

Charara says commercial properties in Dearborn Heights are becoming a hot commodity as well. More Arab business owners are looking to move into this area to accommodate the growing number of Arab American residents. A few Arab grocery stores, bakeries and restaurants are already in place, and there doesn't seem to be much room for more. Recently, one commercial property that went on sale just west of Telegraph on Ford Rd was immediately bought in an overbid by an Arab business owner who plans to open a grocery store at that location.

As typically seen in real estate, when one large group of people moves into a specific area, it will cause another group of people to move out, and these areas appear to be no different. White families in west Dearborn and Dearborn Heights are moving further out into the Livonia, Novi and Farmington Hills areas, with some moving as far out as Brighton.

There’s also a small group of Arab Americans who seem to be moving into the Canton, Plymouth and Northville areas according to both real estate agents. Very rare are Arab American families who seek to move into the Farmington Hills or West Bloomfield areas, where there is a larger concentration of Chaldean Americans and Jewish Americans.

"There is a very small percentage of Arabs going into Farmington or West Bloomfield. Our community is not big there at all. Many are hesitant to purchase properties in those areas because they are aware it's 20-25 minutes away from the community. But there are some that don't mind it," Charara added.

The real estate agents say that while the values on the properties have not reached the same highs as they were in 2005, they don't expect the market to crash as it did a few years ago. There seems to be an all-time high of first time homeowners, and that trend is expected to continue.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) recently announced a program that would give first time homeowners a $3,000-$5,000 credit when they purchase a home. Buyers would have to prove they are first time homeowners by providing their tax returns from the two previous years. For more information on the program, visit