According to ATTOM Data Solutions' Special Report spotlighting county-level housing markets around the United States that are more or less vulnerable to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Northeast has the largest concentration of the most at-risk counties, with clusters in New Jersey and Florida, while the West and Midwest have the smallest.
The report reveals that housing markets in 14 of New Jersey's 21 counties are among the 50 most vulnerable in the country to the economic impact of the Coronavirus. The top 50 also include four in New York, three in Connecticut and 10 from Florida, but only one in California, none in other West Coast states and only one in the Southwest.
Markets are considered more or less at risk based on the percentage of housing units receiving a foreclosure notice in Q4 2019, the percent of homes underwater (LTV 100 or greater) in Q4 2019, and the percentage of local wages required to pay for major home ownership expenses. Rankings are based on a combination of those three categories in 483 counties around the United States with sufficient data to analyze. Counties were ranked in each category, from lowest to highest, with the overall conclusions based on a combination of the three rankings. See below for the full methodology.
"It's too early to tell how much effect the Coronavirus fallout will have on different housing markets around the country. But the impact is likely to be significant from region to region and county to county," said Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions. "What we've done is spotlight areas that appear to be more or less at risk based on several important factors. From that analysis, it looks like the Northeast is more at risk than other areas. As we head into the Spring home buying season, the next few months will reveal how severe the impact will be." High-level findings from the analysis:
- New Jersey and Florida have 24 of the 50 most vulnerable counties from among the 483 included in the report. The 14 counties in New Jersey include five in the New York City suburban area: Bergen, Essex, Passaic, Middlesex and Union counties. The 10 counties in Florida are concentrated in the northern and central sections of the state, including Flagler, Lake, Clay, Hernando and Osceola counties.
- New York counties among the top 50 most at risk include Rockland County, in the New York City metropolitan area; Orange County, in the Poughkeepsie metro area; Rensselaer County, in the Albany metro area; and Ulster County, west of Poughkeepsie.
- Other southern counties that are in the top 50 are spread across Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana and Virginia.
- Among the counties analyzed, only two in the West and five in the Midwest (all in Illinois) rank among the top 50 most at risk from problems connected to the Coronavirus outbreak. The two western counties are Shasta County, CA, in the Redding metropolitan statistical area and Navajo County, AZ, northeast of Phoenix. The midwestern counties are McHenry County, IL; Kane County, IL; Will County, IL and Lake County, IL, all in the Chicago metro area; and Tazewell County, IL, in the Peoria metro area.
- Counties in the top 50 with a population of at least 500,000 people include Bergen, Camden, Essex, Middlesex, Ocean, Passaic and Union counties in New Jersey; Lake, Will and Kane counties in Illinois; Delaware County, PA; Prince George's County, MD; and Broward County, FL.
- Texas has 10 of the 50 least vulnerable counties from among the 483 included in the report, followed by Wisconsin with seven and Colorado with five. The 10 counties in Texas include three in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area (Dallas, Collin and Tarrant counties) and two in the Midland-Odessa area (Ector and Midland counties).
- Eighteen of the 50 least at-risk counties have a population of at least 500,000, led by Harris County (Houston), TX; Dallas County, TX; King County (Seattle), WA; Tarrant County (Fort Worth), TX; and Santa Clara County, CA, in the San Jose metro area.
- Counties where median prices ranging from $160,000 to $300,000 comprise 36 of the top 50 counties most vulnerable to the impact of the Coronavirus.
- Counties with median home prices below $160,000 or above $300,000 make up 14 of the top 50 most vulnerable to the impact of the Coronavirus. Those with median prices below $160,000 are among the most affordable in the nation to local wage earners, while those where median prices exceed $300,000 have some homes with the highest equity and smallest foreclosure rates.