Nestled in the heart of coal country, the Eastern Kentucky Coal Fields are among the most productive in the nation. However, coal isn't Kentucky's economic core. The most famous agricultural output of Kentucky is its horses, but the state also produces cattle, dairy products, soybeans, hogs and corn. The industrial sector of Kentucky's economy includes industrial equipment manufacture and automobile manufacture. The Chevy Corvette; Ford's Expedition, Explorer and F-Series trucks; and Toyota's Camry, Avalon and Sienna are all assembled in Kentucky. The state ranks 8th in the U.S. for automobile manufacture.

Just like it's economic output, the Kentucky commercial real estate market is a mixed bag. Large swaths of eastern and central Kentucky lie in what is called the "Zone of Distress." The people in this primarily rural area have lower life expectancies than the U.S. average, and household incomes are often half the national average. Property is evinronmentally ravaged and worthless for commercial uses but for the coal beneath it or the crops in it.


On the other hand, Louisville, Kentucky's capital and largest city, sitting on the banks of the Ohio River projects an image of class, money and sophistication. Despite the image lent to the city by its thoroughbred horses, Lousiville has undergone some tough economic times lately. Thanks to the flight of the automotive manufacturing industry from the old, industrial north to the south, Louisville's economy seems to be reviving. The industrial market experienced a real renaissance in the mid-90s when auto manufacturers started to relocated to Louisville and then went flat for a few years. The market seems to be growing slowly these days.

The retail market is growing in Louisville, and, as in many other places throughout the country, the retail market is being mixed up with residential and office development. The condo market is still going here, partially because it wasn't as overinvested as it was in some other places. Retail development is particularly hot on the west side of Louisville with the city and private developers pouring millions of dollars into the area to revitalize it and in the hopes of connecting it with downtown Louisville.

Urban renewal is also working its magic on Louisville's housing market. Recently, property values have surged as older, run-down properties are revitalized or completely demolished and rebuilt. While property values themselves are rising, rents remain stagnant and property values across the state remain generally lower than the national average.