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D-FW MARKET LIKELY TO EMERGE HEALTHY FROM COVID-19

Texas’ biggest markets — including Dallas-Fort Worth — are among the metro areas least likely to see a major housing market shakeout from the pandemic.

Housing markets that will be most negatively affected by the COVID-19 infections and resulting economic recession are mostly in the Northeast and Florida, according to a new report by analysts at Attom Data Solutions.

Researchers looked at almost 500 home markets around the country and rated them based on foreclosures, homeowner equity, wages and other factors.

“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,” Attom Data’s Todd Teta said in the just-released report. “What we’ve done is spotlight areas that appear to be more or less at risk based on several important factors.

“From that analysis, it looks like the Northeast is more at risk than other areas,” he said. “As we head into the spring homebuying season, the next few months will reveal how severe the impact will be.”

Attom Data estimates the major housing markets most at risk from the virus include four in New Jersey and the New York area, three in Connecticut and 10 from Florida. Only one was in California, and none were located in other West Coast states.

“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,” Attom Data analysts said. “The 10 counties in Texas include three in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area (Dallas, Collin and Tarrant counties).

Harris County in the Houston area and Travis County in the Austin area were also ranked low for coronavirus-related housing shakeouts.

The pandemic and shelter-in-place orders are already affecting North Texas’ housing markets because there are fewer home shoppers in the market at a time of year when home sales typically boom.

And the Dallas-Fort Worth area was one of the few major metros in the country that saw a decline in the median list prices of homes listed for sale in March — they were down 3% from a year ago, according to Realtor.com

Dr. James Gaines, chief economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, said he’s seen forecasts that predict Texas’ home markets will fare better coming out of the pandemic. But he’s wary of making any predictions.

Obviously, the New York market will be collapsed and the tourist areas,” Gaines said. “Beyond that, we simply flat don’t know.

“The hit of the virus here in Texas so far has been considered light compared to other areas of the country.”

Gaines said it will be several months before sales and pricing numbers show where the Texas home markets land.

“I’ve seen some preliminary March numbers that indicate that we have had a slowdown but not a collapse,” he said. “But going forward, it’s going to look really bad year-over-year.

“March, April, May, June and July are usually our hot housing months.”

By Steve Brown Dallas morning news.