5 VA Counties Are Among Least Vulnerable U.S. Housing Markets: Report

Colleen Martin, Patch Staff

Posted Thu, Jul 7, 2022 at 6:58 pm ET

The 50 least at-risk real estate markets in the U.S. include five counties in the Virginia, according to a real estate data curator.

VIRGINIA — Five Virginia counties were listed among 50 areas least vulnerable to a market decline, according to ATTOM, a curator of real estate data across the United States.

The rankings are based on home affordability, underwater mortgages, foreclosures and unemployment patterns in the first quarter of 2022. More specifically, counties were evaluated and categorized as more or less at risk by looking at the percentage of homes facing possible foreclosure, the portion with mortgage balances that exceeded estimated property values, the percentage of average local wages required to pay for major home ownership expenses on median-priced single-family homes and local unemployment rates.

The counties least at-risk of a market decline, based on those metrics, are Henrico, Arlington, Loudoun, Fairfax and Albemarle, according to ATTOM.

Arlington County had one of the lowest rates of foreclosure among those counties listed least at-risk — there, one in 17,012 properties are facing foreclosure, according to ATTOM.

“While the housing market has been exceptionally strong over the past few years, that doesn’t mean there aren’t areas of potential vulnerability if economic conditions continue to weaken,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence at ATTOM, in a news release. “Housing markets with poor affordability and relatively high rates of unemployment, underwater loans, and foreclosure activity could be at risk if we enter a recession or even face a more modest downturn.”

New Jersey, Illinois and California had the highest concentration of vulnerable housing markets, according to the report. The biggest clusters of at-risk markets were in New York and Chicago, the report said, whereas the south had fewer at-risk markets.

Thirty-two of the 50 counties listed as “most vulnerable” are in the metropolitan areas around Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and in Delaware and interior California, ATTOM said.

The Special Housing Risk Report is based on ATTOM’s reports for residential foreclosure, home affordability and underwater property from the first quarter of 2022, plus March 2022 unemployment figures reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Read ATTOM’s full report here.

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Meralee Fredenburgh