Hoping to bring attention to the city’s housing woes, Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator Tony Lindauer says that although Louisville has been fairly insulated from the national foreclosure crisis, the West End has a significant number of vulnerable properties. The property value administrator is responding to data found in the upcoming annual state of the real estate report, which will be released in the coming weeks.
“The percentage of west Louisville residential properties that are in foreclosure, vacant structures … is 13 percent compared to only 3 percent for the rest of Metro Louisville,” says Lindauer. “This has a significant impact on neighborhood property values and quality of life for residents here.”
Charged with assessing the value of residential, commercial, automotive and other tangible properties in the city, Lindauer’s office hopes that highlighting certain information in the report will bring focused change to affected neighborhoods.
“We have a unique opportunity to bring up this part of our community,” says Lindauer
Earlier this year, LEO Weekly reported that a decade of economic woes has sparked an increase in foreclosures and homelessness in the city. According to the Metropolitan Housing Coalition’s 2009 housing report, for instance, the vast majority of the highest-rate mortgages (50-75.7 percent) are concentrated in west Louisville — an area that same report characterizes as being at least 50 percent African-American as well as containing the city’s highest rates of poverty.
The only other areas to fare anywhere near as bad were Okolona and Pleasure Ridge Park areas, which are predominately white, working-class neighborhoods.
“West Louisville is particularly vulnerable in a shaky economy because so many of its residents live paycheck to paycheck and have fallen prey to predatory lenders,” Lindauer added. “A good number of these properties are investor held whose intentions were to renovate and sell but the sliding economy prevented those plans.”
In February 2009, LEO focused on an alarming trend of racial disparity in the mortgage business even for more affluent African-Americans, which studies suggested that predatory lenders have made a practice of targeting. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition found that in Louisville Metro, 42 percent of middle- to upper-income African-American borrowers purchased “high-cost” loans, compared to only 18 percent of their white counterparts.
In the coming weeks, the Jefferson County PVA office will continue to highlight specific aspects of the annual report, which will be announced in full length in the coming weeks.