South Jersey housing markets vulnerable to pandemic downturns

Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties are among the nationwide housing markets most vulnerable to pandemic downturns, according to year-end analysis from real estate data provider Attom.

The analysis measured the percentages of homes at risk of foreclosure, the share of average local wages needed to pay monthly house costs, and the percentages of homes that are worth less than homeowners owe. These warning signs show where the risk of a market reversal is greatest, according to a report to be released by Atom on Thursday.

New Jersey — particularly areas near Philadelphia and New York — has one of the highest concentrations of risky markets, according to Attom. Atlantic and Cumberland counties in South Jersey were also among the 50 most at-risk markets, which were mostly on the east coast.

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Elsewhere in the country, counties in the Chicago area and across California are also more prone to the effects of the pandemic.

The housing market as a whole and in the Philadelphia area remains strong, despite limited housing supply and ever-rising selling prices that threaten affordability. But two years on, the health crisis remains a threat to the broader economy and also to the housing market, said Todd Teta, chief product officer at Attom.

“There are no immediate warning signs hanging over any part of the country, but the pockets are more vulnerable to worsening market conditions,” Teta said in a statement. Atom surveyed 575 counties across the country.

Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties were the only Philadelphia-area markets to make the top 50 list at risk.

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Gloucester County placed 13th. Residents must spend 32% of their income to pay the cost of a single-family home at the median price of $249,999, according to Attom. Costs include mortgage payments, property taxes and insurance. In the summer, 8% of homeowners with loans owed more than their home was worth. One in 995 properties in the county is being filed for foreclosure.

In 31st-ranked Camden County, one in every 606 residential properties has had a foreclosure case filed. Residents have to spend about 26% of their income on a single-family home with a median price of $235,250. For nearly 9% of residential properties, owners owed more than the value of the property this summer.

Burlington County ranked 37th on the Top 50 list. Residents must spend 28% of their income to purchase a single-family home at the median price of $287,500. About 7% of residential property owners are underwater on their mortgages this summer. One in 757 property has a foreclosure filing.

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