Which areas are most at risk in the second quarter of 2020? According to a new report from ATTOM Data Solutions, the East Coast and northern Illinois are the most vulnerable to the economic impact of the pandemic. These areas may have a higher percentage of homes that are currently facing possible foreclosure, may have mortgage balances that exceed the estimated property value and may have higher percentages of local wages required to pay for major homeownership expenses.
A majority of the most at-risk counties were in the metro areas around New York City, Chicago, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The following 11 suburbs surrounding New York were included in this grouping: Bergen, Essex, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Sussex and Union counties in New Jersey, as well as Nassau, Orange, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester counties in New York. Around Chicago, the following suburbs are also at risk: Cook, De Kalb, Du Page, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.
Of the 50 most at-risk counties, five are in Connecticut: Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, Tolland and Windham.
In terms of high homeownership costs compared to local wages, 43 of 50 counties are most vulnerable: Westchester County, N.Y. (77.1 percent of average local wage required for major homeownership costs); Rockland County, N.Y. (71.1 percent); Nassau County, N.Y. (63.4 percent; Riverside, Calif. (62.5 percent); and Bergen County, N.J. (58.5 percent).
These counties had a high percentage of underwater mortgages in the first quarter of 2020: Sussex County, N.J. (39.2 percent); Monroe County, Pa. (35.3 percent); Cumberland County, N.J. (35.7 percent); Livingston County, La. (34.3 percent); and Saint Clair County, Ill. (34.2 percent).
Lastly, more than one in 750 residential properties faced foreclosure in the first quarter of 2020 in 47 of the 50 most at-risk counties. These counties had the highest foreclosure rates: Cumberland County, N.J. (1 in every 180 properties faced foreclosure); Sussex County, N.J. (one in every 210); Camden County, N.J. (one in every 231); Atlantic County, N.J. (one in every 293); and Will County, Ill. (one in every 294).
“Home-sales data from around the country is starting to show that eight years of price gains may be coming to an end amid the economic damage flowing from the virus pandemic. It’s still too early to make any definitive calls, but the latest numbers show storm clouds gathering over the market,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions. “With this second special report on the potential impact of the pandemic, we see pockets around the country that appear more or less poised to withstand downward pressure on prices and other market conditions. Over the next few months, enough data should come in to tell us how things will most likely pan out.”