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Report says DFW housing market among least vulnerable to COVID-19 collapse

According to ATTOM Data Solutions, North Texas counties are among the least vulnerable areas in the nation to a housing market collapse triggered by the coronavirus.

Author: Bill Hethcock (Dallas Business Journal)

Published: 8:24 PM CDT April 8, 2020

Updated: 8:24 PM CDT April 8, 2020

The Dallas-Fort Worth housing market is one of the least vulnerable in the nation to a housing market collapse triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report.

Major Texas markets overall fare well in the report by ATTOM Data Solutions.

Dallas County ranks 477th out of 483 counties ranked, with the higher number being less at risk of fallout from COVID-19. Tarrant ranks 449th and Collin ranks 439th.

Piccinini, the founder and owner of Frisco-based JP & Associates Realtors, said he expects DFW and Texas residential real estate markets to perform well above most markets nationwide in the post-COVID-19 world.

“White collar jobs are a leading indicator of real estate purchases and with historically low inventory, low rates, corporate relos adding to an abundance of vacant jobs, but most of all pent up demand from a lukewarm spring, we will not only increase sales, but keep prices stable in 2020 all across DFW,” Piccinini wrote in an emailed response to the Dallas Business Journal.

Piccinini’s company saw a 2 percent increase in year-over-year home sales in the first quarter. March 2020 sales were flat compared to March 2019, he said.

Across the country, concerns are growing about how real estate sales will fare when fewer people have jobs and can afford houses and when even those with jobs grow more fearful of the long-term commitment of a mortgage.

The coronavirus crisis and shelter-in-place orders are impacting North Texas’ residential markets with fewer shoppers in the market in the peak spring selling season, and some sellers postponing or pulling their houses off the market, real estate agents say.

Texas has 10 of the 50 least vulnerable counties from among the 483 included in the report, followed by Wisconsin with seven and Colorado with five.

The only Texas county ranked less susceptible than Dallas County to fallout from COVID-19 is Harris County, at 479th.

Among Texas’ most populous counties, Travis County ranked 457th, Williamson ranked 412nd and Bexar ranked 390th.

Other North Texas counties that made the rankings include Denton, 333rd; Ellis, 377th; and Grayson, 429th.

Kaufman County is the most susceptible in Texas to a housing market crash post-COVID-19, with a 165th national ranking. The next most susceptible in Texas was Parker County, which ranked 176th overall.

“It’s too early to tell how much effect the coronavirus fallout will have on different housing markets around the country. But the impact is likely to be significant from region to region and county to county,” Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions, said in the report. “What we’ve done is spotlight areas that appear to be more or less at risk based on several important factors.”

The rankings are based on the percentage of housing units receiving a foreclosure notice in the fourth quarter of 2019, the percent of homes underwater (loan-to-value of 100 or greater) in fourth quarter 2019 and the percentage of local wages required to pay for major home ownership expenses.

Housing markets that will be most negatively affected by the COVID-19 infections are mostly in the Northeast and Florida, according to the report.

The report predicts the major housing markets with the most risk from coronavirus include 10 in Florida, four in New Jersey and three in Connecticut.

Combined, New Jersey and Florida have 24 of the 50 most vulnerable counties from among the 483 included in the report.

Nationwide, counties where median prices range from $160,000 to $300,000 comprise 36 of the top 50 counties most vulnerable to the impact of the coronavirus.

Counties with median home prices below $160,000 or above $300,000 make up 14 of the top 50 most vulnerable to the impact of the coronavirus. Those with median prices below $160,000 are among the most affordable in the nation to local wage earners, while those where median prices exceed $300,000 have some homes with the highest equity and smallest foreclosure rates, the study says.

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