Most markets around the country are seeing homes sit on the market for slightly longer than usual and even former U.S. treasury secretary Larry Summers says there is a 50% chance of a recession in the next few years, so signs suggest there are most likely going to be some headwinds in housing coming soon. There isn’t a reason to panic, but it is a time to start paying closer attention to the signs of volatility.
A recent analysis by Redfin looked at seven variables across all major metro areas to determine which cities would be the most at risk during the next recession. The variables include the usual suspects, like average home loan-to-value ratios, the ratio of household income to median sales prices and the historical volatility of sales prices. But researchers also looked at some of the fundamental underpinnings of a city’s economy, such as ‘diversity’ of local employment (or how many people are likely to have the same employer) and the percentage of the local economy dependent on exports. They also looked at the number of flip homes (ones sold twice within 12 months in different price tiers) and the percentage of local households headed by someone age 65 or older. The study paints a broad picture of the pieces that influence a local housing market and gives a solid indication of which cities are most at risk.
Since foreclosures and short sales dominated the last recession, here are the cities in order from most to least at risk with the home loan-to-value ratios for each city. The chart on the Redfin report shows all seven variables, but for the sake of easier viewing I’m just including one variable here.
Home Loan-To-Value Ratios For The Most At-Risk Cities
Riverside pushes its way to the top of the list in part because the loan-to-value ratios are toward the higher end compared to most of the country, but also because as the chart shows, home price volatility is one of the highest in the country (17.9%, second only to San Jose at 18.1%). Home price volatility was determined by measuring the standard deviation of home prices year-to-year.
San Francisco, always the eye-popper when it comes to real estate prices, didn’t make its way to the top ten most at-risk cities most likely because it had a low percentage on the loan-to-value list at 53%, but with the highest ratio of income-to-sales prices on the list (15.1) it still gets to keep its reputation for being an expensive place to buy a home. The next highest on the list is Los Angeles, at 10.9.
Price stability is another cornerstone of an at-risk market, so here’s a look at all the volatility percentages for the cities on the top ten. Las Vegas and several cities in Florida were some of the hardest hit during the last recession so it isn’t much of a surprise that they show high rates of fluctuation when it comes to prices.
Price Volatility For The Most At-Risk Cities
The good news is, whatever slowdown is coming for housing it is unlikely to be as dramatic as the last one. But even though the downturn won’t be as harsh, certain parts of the country that still haven’t fully recovered from ten years ago may feel an impact stronger than the numbers would warrant. If you live in or near any of these regions it may be time to shore up your finances before things take a turn for the worse.
For the full report, go here.
*For metros missing this data, the 50th percentile value of 65.4% was assumed when calculating the overall score.