Real estate is one of the few sectors to have thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales of existing homes in 2020 hit their highest levell in almost a a decade and a half – and increasing demand has pushed up house prices. Median home sales hit a decades-long high of $ 278,000 in the first quarter of 2021, up 17.7% from the previous year, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.
Despite a strong housing market, there are still many counties where the housing market is at increased risk from the impact of the pandemic, either directly or indirectly.
These areas have above-average foreclosure rates and shares of homes with above-average underwater mortgages, meaning that the value of outstanding loans exceeds the total value of the property. Some of these markets are also much less affordable than average with high home ownership costs relative to local incomes.
Based on an index of these three metrics – foreclosure rate, share of underwater mortgages, and affordability – at the county level, 24/7 Wall St. identified the most risky housing markets. All data in this story was compiled in the first quarter 2021 Coronavirus Special Report ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate and real estate data company.
Many of the counties on this list are located in the eastern United States, stretching from Florida through the mid-Atlantic to New England. The pandemic has taken above-average economic and public health devastation in some of these counties. County in every state with the most COVID-19 deaths.
“The pandemic remains significant and may pose a threat to the progress made so far and, by extension, could affect sales of homes andd price, ”said Todd Teta, product manager at ATTOM in a press release. Indeed, the housing market is booming, but many American homeowners remain vulnerable.
Click here to see the most risky housing markets.
To determine the most sensitive housing markets, 24/7 Wall St. examined data from ATOM Data Solutions First Quarter 2021 Coronavirus Special Report on the susceptibility of county-level housing markets to risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic. The counties were ranked based on a composite index of the percentage of residential properties foreclosed in the first quarter of 2021, the percentage of average local wages needed to cover major expenses related to the owning a median priced home in the first quarter of 2021, and the percentage of properties with outstanding mortgage balances above their estimated market values in the fourth quarter of 2020, i.e. underwater mortgages. All components of the index come from ATTOM data solutions and were weighted equally. Supplementary data on unemployment and the labor force come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and are not seasonally adjusted.