Last year, we covered a housing study assessing the cities the most at risk for a housing crisis. This year, the study was redone, incorporating a more robust methodology, including the percentage of homes with negative equity, delinquency rate, foreclosure rate, homeowner and rental vacancy rates, with data sourced from Zillow, RealtyTrac and the Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey.
The 2019 addition of this study features many of the same cities as in the 2018 version. But there were some notable newcomers as well, with the Northeast, South and Midwest dominating the list of the top 10 cities most in danger of a housing crisis. Some cities improved their position from 2018 to 2019, such as Chicago, which ranked as the No. 4 most in danger last year, but this year fell back to No. 21.
The first half of the top-10 list, No. 10 through No. 6, is occupied by cities of the U.S. South and Midwest, plus one in the Northeast. Montgomery, Alabama ranks No. 10, while Fayetteville, North Carolina ranks No. 8. In both cities, more than a quarter of homes have negative equity. Ohio took the No. 9 and No. 7 spot, with Dayton and Cleveland, respectively. The percentage of homes underwater exceeds 25% in both cities.
The No. 6 city most in danger of a housing crisis has more in common with the second half of the top-10 list. Paterson, New Jersey is in the Northeast, and so are the No. 5 city, Hartford, Connecticut, the No. 3 city, Bridgeport, Connecticut, and the No. 1 city, Newark, New Jersey. Delinquency rates, and homeowner and rental vacancy rates tend to be higher among these cities than the lower ranking cities. In Newark, for example, the homeowner vacancy rate and rental vacancy rate are 5.2% and 9.5%, respectively, compared to 1.7% and 6.1% for the U.S. overall. Baltimore and Detroit round out the top-five, ranking No. 4 and No. 2, respectively.