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Report: Clay County Homeowners Among Most Vulnerable To Pandemic’s Economic Impact

Foreclosure sign
DAVID ZALUBOWSKI / AP FILE PHOTO
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The housing markets in four Florida counties, including Clay, rank among the top 40 U.S. counties most vulnerable to the economic impact of the pandemic.Clay County is No. 17 most at risk economically in the nation, according to ATTOM.

The property database company said 10.6% of Clay County homeowners were underwater in the first quarter of 2021, meaning they owe more on their mortgage than the home is worth.

ATTOM said in the second quarter there were 58 foreclosure filings in Clay County, which translates to 0.07%, but that number may be artificially low. ATTOM pointed out that foreclosure actions have dropped about 80% over the past year amid a federal moratorium on lenders’ taking back properties from homeowners behind on their mortgages.

The foreclosure moratorium is scheduled to end on July 31, according to the White House.

ATTOM said housing markets considered most at risk are based on: 

  • The percentage of homes facing possible foreclosure. 
  • The portion with mortgage balances that exceeded the estimated property value.
  • The percentage of average local wages required to pay for major home ownership expenses on median-priced houses or condominiums.

Rankings were based on a combination of those three categories for 564 U.S. counties with sufficient data to analyze in first and second quarters of 2021.
Major home ownership costs (mortgage payments, property taxes and insurance) on median-priced single-family homes consumed more than 30% of average local wages in 23 of the 50 counties that were most vulnerable to market problems connected to the virus pandemic in the second quarter of 2021.

In Clay County, major home ownership costs totaled 33% of income with a median sales price in the second quarter of $270,000, according to ATTOM.

The other Florida counties in the top 50 most vulnerable list are:

35.) Osceola County

36.) Lake County

38.) Marion County

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.