These 40 cities may see housing prices decline, survey says

  • When it comes to finding a place to live, an urban setting at a fair price might be right up your alley.
  • Be sure to look beyond those low costs to see whether the real estate market in your chosen city is stable.
  • New data from GOBankingRates suggest that certain cities are particularly vulnerable based on their foreclosure and delinquency rates.
Newark, New Jersey, skyline on the Passaic River.
Sean Pavone | iStock | Getty Images
Newark, New Jersey, skyline on the Passaic River.

If you're looking for a new home in an urban area, you might be attracted to some more up-and-coming areas.

But buyer beware: Some of those areas come with big risks.

That is according to a new study from GOBankingRates, which evaluated cities based on multiple criteria: percentage of homes with mortgages in negative equity, foreclosure rates, delinquency rates on mortgage payments, homeowner vacancy rates and rental vacancy rates. The site then ranked 40 cities according to these risks.

To be sure, many areas of the country are holding steady. Separate research from CoreLogic, a provider of property information, data and analytics, released in March found that delinquency and foreclosure rates overall were the lowest since 2000.

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"You could see this as a list of bargains. But if things don't improve, you're just going to lose equity on your house," said Andrew DePietro, lead researcher and data analyst at GOBankingRates.

On top of the list is Newark, New Jersey, which also came in first with highest delinquency rate and highest homeowner vacancy rate.

Other Northeast cities to make the list include Baltimore; Bridgeport, Conn.; Hartford, Conn.; Philadelphia; and Syracuse, New York.

Midwestern cities were also prominent, including Chicago; Cleveland; Dayton, Ohio; Detroit; Toledo, Ohio; Akron, Ohio; Milwaukee; and Rockford, Joliet and Aurora, all in Illinois.

Southern cities also rounded out the top 40, including Birmingham, Alabama; Columbus, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida; Memphis; Mobile, Alabama; New Orleans; and Norfolk, Virginia, among others.

Tulsa landed on the bottom of the list, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a safe bet, DePietro said. That's because it still has above-average foreclosure rates, homeowner vacancy rates and rental vacancy rates.

"There are probably suburbs outside these cities that are in less danger," DePietro said.

Not everyone agrees that there is trouble on the horizon for these areas.

"There is a broad housing shortage in America," which includes most of the cities named, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.

Because that means there are more buyers than homes for sale on the market, Yun said he does not see prices declining in those areas.

"I think it's a price appreciation in most of those markets," Yun said. "The only way it may reverse is if there's an economic recession with substantial job cuts. But at least through 2019, it looks like it's going to be a continuing job creating economy."

Following are the 40 cities that could be in danger of a housing decline this year, according to GOBankingRates. GOBankingRates used data from the Census Bureau, RealtyTrac and Zillow to complete the study.

40 cities that could see a housing decline

1 Newark New Jersey
2 Detroit Michigan
3 Bridgeport Connecticut
4 Baltimore Maryland
5 Hartford Connecticut
6 Paterson New Jersey
7 Cleveland Ohio
8 Fayetteville North Carolina
9 Dayton Ohio
10 Montgomery Alabama
11 Columbia South Carolina
12 Birmingham Alabama
13 Toledo Ohio
14 New Haven Connecticut
15 Columbus Georgia
16 Akron Ohio
17 Macon Georgia
18 Philadelphia Pennsylvania
19 Rockford Illinois
20 Newport News Virginia
21 Chicago Illinois
22 Hampton Virginia
23 Norfolk Virginia
24 Syracuse New York
25 Joliet Illinois
26 Little Rock Arkansas
27 Mobile Alabama
28 Jacksonville Florida
29 Saint Louis Missouri
30 Miami Beach Florida
31 New Orleans Louisiana
32 Lansing Michigan
33 Aurora Illinois
34 Miami Florida
35 Memphis Tennessee
36 Savannah Georgia
37 Milwaukee Wisconsin
38 Tallahassee Florida
39 Bakersfield California
40 Tulsa Oklahoma
Source: GOBankingRates