Personal Finance

These 40 cities may see housing prices decline, survey says

Key Points
  • 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

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.

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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

Rank City State
1NewarkNew Jersey
2DetroitMichigan
3BridgeportConnecticut
4BaltimoreMaryland
5HartfordConnecticut
6PatersonNew Jersey
7ClevelandOhio
8FayettevilleNorth Carolina
9DaytonOhio
10MontgomeryAlabama
11ColumbiaSouth Carolina
12BirminghamAlabama
13ToledoOhio
14New HavenConnecticut
15ColumbusGeorgia
16AkronOhio
17MaconGeorgia
18PhiladelphiaPennsylvania
19RockfordIllinois
20Newport NewsVirginia
21ChicagoIllinois
22HamptonVirginia
23NorfolkVirginia
24SyracuseNew York
25JolietIllinois
26Little RockArkansas
27MobileAlabama
28JacksonvilleFlorida
29Saint LouisMissouri
30Miami BeachFlorida
31New OrleansLouisiana
32LansingMichigan
33AuroraIllinois
34MiamiFlorida
35MemphisTennessee
36SavannahGeorgia
37MilwaukeeWisconsin
38TallahasseeFlorida
39BakersfieldCalifornia
40TulsaOklahoma