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N.C. metro areas face lower housing market risk from pandemic

N.C. metro areas face lower housing market risk from pandemic

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The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a limited negative impact on the housing markets of North Carolina’s five metropolitan areas, according to a national real-estate report.

Attom Data Solutions’ latest pandemic-related report is based on third-quarter 2021 data in three economic measuring sticks: home affordability; number of homes considered as underwater (amount owed is more than the value of the home); and foreclosure filings.

Out of the 570 metropolitan statistical areas measured, Forsyth County was ranked No. 367 in terms of risk, down from No. 345 in the second-quarter report.

Attom had Forsyth’s median sales price for a single-family home as $220,000, up from $202,500 in the second quarter.

It said that 7,560 out of 79,414 Forsyth residences with mortgages — or 9.5% — are underwater.

There were 50 foreclosure filings during the third quarter, representing a 0.03% foreclosure rate.

By comparison, Guilford County was listed at No. 345 in terms of risk, down from No. 303 in the second quarter.

The median sales price for a single-family home was $212,000, up from $190,000 in the second quarter.

There were 9.3%, or 9,653, out of 104,248 Guilford residences with mortgages that are underwater.

There were 78 foreclosure filings during the third quarter, representing a 0.04% foreclosure rate.

“There’s growing reason to think the coronavirus pandemic may finally be heading into the history books as case numbers have dropped significantly in the past month or so,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer with Attom.

“But, it still poses a significant threat to the economy, with some housing markets in pockets of the country remaining at higher risk than others.”

“We will continue watching prices, affordability, distressed property counts and other measures to gauge the risk, as long as the pandemic remains a big issue facing the country,” Teta said.

Until recently, most foreclosures that proceeded in 2020 and 2021 were related to vacant and abandoned properties.

However, Attom analysts have warned there could be substantial unleashing of foreclosure filings accompanying an economic recovery this year.

“September foreclosure actions were almost 70% lower than they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic of September 2019,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president at RealtyTrac, an Attom company.

“Even with similar increases in foreclosures over the next few months, we’ll end the year significantly below what we’d see in a normal housing market.”

Sharga said that federal and state governments and the mortgage industry “have worked together to do an extraordinary job of preventing millions of unnecessary foreclosures using the foreclosure moratorium and mortgage forbearance program.”

Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 in which he urged banks, credit unions and other lenders “not to charge customers for overdraft fees, late fees and other penalties.”

The statewide eviction moratorium expired June 30, 2021.




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