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East Coast Properties More Likely to Suffer COVID-19 Woes

ATTOM [1], a national property database company, has released its special Q3 Coronavirus Report highlighting county-level data from housing markets across the country that are vulnerable to damage from the ongoing pandemic which is still affecting the real estate markets. 

The report found that of the-50 top counties that were found to be most vulnerable, over half were located in Delaware, Illinois, and New Jersey. This includes eight counties in the Chicago area (Cook, De Kalb, Du Page, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties), six around New York City (Essex, Hunterdon, Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic and Sussex counties in New Jersey and Rockland County in New York), three around Philadelphia (Camden and Gloucester counties in New Jersey and Delaware County in Pennsylvania), and two of Delaware's three counties (Kent and Sussex). 

The eastern part of the country generally had more at-risk counties than the western portion, with only two counties in California (Humboldt and Shasta) making the top-50 most at-risk list. 

Many factors went into determining whether a county made the list such as the levels of affordable housing, the number of underwater mortgages and foreclosure rates.  

In 27 of the top-50 counties home ownership costs represented more than 30% of a person's monthly income. The highest percentages in those markets were in Rockland County, New York (outside New York City) (54.8% of average local wages needed for major ownership costs); Monmouth County, New Jersey (outside New York City) (45.7%); Passaic County (outside New York City), New Jersey (43.9%); Beaufort County (Hilton Head), South Carolina (42.5%) and Kendall County, Illinois (outside Chicago) (39.5%). Nationwide, major expenses on typical homes sold in the third quarter required 24.9% of average local wages. 

On a national scale, one in 3,019 properties had a foreclosure filing against it in Q3, but among the at-risk counties that ratio dropped to one in 2,000 or worse. The worst rates in the top 50 counties in Q3 2021 were in Jefferson County, New York (north of Syracuse) (one in 454 residential properties facing possible foreclosure); Cumberland County (Vineland) New Jersey (one in 548); Will County, Illinois (outside Chicago) (one in 676); Gloucester County, New Jersey (outside Philadelphia) (one in 696) and Atlantic County (Atlantic City), New Jersey (one in 709). 

"There's growing reason to think the Coronavirus pandemic may finally be heading into the history books as case numbers have dropped significantly in the past month or so. But it still poses a significant threat to the economy, with some housing markets in pockets of the country remaining at higher risk than others," said Todd Teta [2], Chief Product Officer with ATTOM. "It's important to stress that this doesn't mean that any one area faces imminent danger, especially given how well the housing market has avoided major problems during the pandemic. Rather, some are more at risk than others. We will continue watching prices, affordability, distressed property counts and other measures to gauge the risk, as long as the pandemic remains a big issue facing the country." 

A full copy of the report can be found here [3]. The data for the report was drawn from three separate reports (home affordability, equity, and foreclosure) issued by ATTOM that covered 507 counties nationwide that submitted sufficient data to be considered statistically relevant in Q3.