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During the 2010 census, Louisville was ranked as the 28th most populous city in the United States. That’s not surprising, considering locals get unrestricted access to some of the finest bourbon, the annual Kentucky Derby festivities, and delicious Southern food. But while there are plenty of draws that attract people to Louisville, how does real estate rank among them? What does it cost to rent or own a home in Louisville?

Those are big questions for anyone considering changing residences within the city or relocating to Louisville. House and apartment prices are likely one of the most important considerations, and the city’s cost-of-living calculation is significantly impacted by housing prices.

To help understand where the city has been, where it’s going, and how it compares to the nation at large, we dug into the data behind Louisville’s housing stock, breaking those findings down into the core city (roughly the old city limits), the metro area, and the national average for home prices and apartment rates.

Home Values

Home values in Louisville are on the rise across the board—as they are nationally—but the price for a home varies immensely. In central Louisville, the median home value is currently $95,000 and forecasted to rise 3.8 percent throughout the next year.

Predictably, the range of home values is quite large between the different urban neighborhoods in Louisville. At the extremes, the neighborhood of Park Duvalle has a median home value of $48,400 while in the Cherokee Triangle, homes are $315,100. In some of the most popular neighborhoods, Old Louisville and Tyler Park, the median home values are $153,700 and $247,000, respectively.

Stepping back to look at the bigger area, the median home value in the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro is $131,300. While not experiencing as much appreciation as Louisville proper, this metro area is also expected to see a 2.9 percent rise in home values by next July.

Compared to the national average, prices in Louisville and its surrounding metro area are a steal. The United States median home value is $179,200 and anticipated to increase by 2.2 percent through the next year. While home prices will vary dramatically between different cities and states, overall, Louisville is likely to have more affordable homes.

Rent Prices

The trend for rental prices is very similar to home values—affordable. The median rent price in the United States is $1,584 a month. Comparatively, the median rent price in the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro is $873, almost 50 percent less. Even cheaper, the median rent price in the traditional city limits of Louisville is $795.

Interestingly though, the breakeven horizon—the number of years after which buying is more financially advantageous than renting—is very similar in all three areas. The shortest breakeven horizon is in Louisville, at 1.5 years. However, the county metro is not far behind at 1.7 years and the national figure at 1.9 years. Regardless of where you chose to live, the breakeven horizon indicates that buying might be an equally compelling option to renting.

The rental and home prices in Louisville have a significant impact on the overall cost of living. With housing prices that are 20 percent below the national average, it’s not surprising that the overall cost of living in Louisville is 8 percent less than the national average. If you’re contemplating relocating within the city, or wondering where to live in the Louisville/Jefferson County metro, there’s a broad spectrum of choices and price points available to choose from.

[Editor’s Note: This article is part of a partnership between Broken Sidewalk and Zillow. Top image shows the Sycamore Apartments on Speed Avenue in 1928. Courtesy UL Photo Archives – Reference.]
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Satinder Haer

Satinder Haer

Satinder digs into the numbers behind home sales and rentals at Zillow. She also writes about home improvement, design, and real estate for the Zillow blog. She is a graduate of Whitman College and lives in Seattle.
Satinder Haer

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