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Donald Trump’s Inner City Nightmare Is all Wrong

October 11, 2016, 6:51 PM UTC
Photograph by Evan Vucci/AP

Donald Trump in his presidential campaign has painted inner cities as poverty-stricken war zones, with the situation only getting worse.

In fact, inner cities may be in better shape than they have been in decades, according to analysis of housing prices by Seattle-based real estate brokerage and data firm, Redfin.

Back in the 1970s, when Abba was still at the top of charts and the first Star Wars movie was released in theaters, inner cities were “synonymous with crime and poverty,” wrote Nela Richardson of Redfin.

“In recent years, [though] cities have undergone an economic and cultural Renaissance, making the urban core a popular and highly demanded place to live and to work,” she wrote. “Light-rail infrastructure has been built in many inner-city areas, and nowadays the high-paying jobs are showing up downtown instead of in suburban office parks.”

In fact, Redfin found that in 31 major cities, housing prices actually rose faster in the very center of the city, than it did in the outskirts. The median price per square foot of homes in inner cities soared 52% over the past six years. That compared to a rise of just 34% for homes that were in the outskirts of cities, including suburbs, and the farther out exurban, areas, as defined by the census.

Inner-city homes also tend to cost 92% more per square foot than homes in the surrounding metro area, according to Richardson.


Notably however, Redfin did not include Detroit in the analysis, a city that Trump has used as a poster child of inner-city woes during the campaign trail. But according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, housing prices in Metro Detroit have risen 67% in the past five years.

Donald Trump has repeatedly paired “inner cities” with words such as “devastating” during the campaign cycle. Trump has also used the term interchangeably with “African Americans” in a bid to show minority voters that he cares.

“That’s not to say that people aren’t struggling, but Donald’s Trump’s picture of the urban core doesn’t match the real estate market, and he more than anyone should know that when it comes to house prices, it’s all about location,” Richardson wrote.