Moving To Louisville Brought Me Face to Face with the Racist History of Home Prices

Roundup
tags: racism, redlining, housing discrimination, real estate

I recently got hired as a history professor at Simmons College of Kentucky, and I can hardly wait to move to Louisville.

I'm excited to explore the Muhammad Ali Center, to indulge in the best bourbon tours, and to learn the city’s rich history. But before this fun can begin, my family and I must find a place to call home.

Compared to other metro areas, Louisville's housing market seems quite affordable, especially for the culture and amenities it boasts.

Louisville’s average house is more affordable than Cincinnati, St Louis, Birmingham, Detroit, Baton Rouge, Kansas City, Grand Rapids, Chattanooga, Lancaster, Columbus, Albuquerque, Milwaukee, Knoxville.

Yet, as I have begun to search for a house, I have quickly discovered Louisville’s average home value only tells a part of the story.

In Louisville’s majority white neighborhoods, the average home costs $325,942, over three times the $116,180 that homes in Louisville majority Black communities’ cost.

As a historian, I know part of these differences are due to historical policies that segregated Louisville's neighborhoods along racial lines, ensuring white residents lived in larger houses in neighborhoods with less pollution, less poverty, more services and more amenities. Yet, a recent report using brand new data, found that neither historical racist policies nor contemporary socioeconomic differences can explain the gap between Louisville appraisal values.

Read entire article at Louisville Courier-Journal