Home > 2014 > Mortgages

6 Places With Emerging Housing Bubbles

Advertiser Disclosure Comments 0 Comments

A new report on the housing market indicates there’s little risk of the country experiencing another housing bubble, even as prices rise above the peaks in the 2005 to 2008 bubble leading up to the mortgage crisis. RealtyTrac, a housing-data analytics company, released Thursday an analysis of real-estate markets in 475 counties and identified only six that are in “bubble territory.”

There may be little threat of a national bubble, but affordability remains a struggle for aspiring homeowners, as property values increase and median wages fail to keep pace. To determine home affordability, RealtyTrac compared median household incomes and median home prices at different points in the last several years.

The affordability percentage is measured by how much of that area’s median income would be required to afford monthly mortgage payments on a median-priced home, given an 10% down payment, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, private mortgage insurance and median property tax. For example, in one of the least affordable markets in the U.S., Kings County, N.Y. (aka Brooklyn), a monthly mortgage payment on a median-priced home would cost 98% of the median monthly income in that area (hence the “unaffordable” label).

Plenty of places in the country are ridiculously unaffordable for residents making the median income, but that alone isn’t indicative of a bubble. RealtyTrac also looked at foreclosure rates between mortgages originated in 2013 and those opened in 2014, because an increase in foreclosures is a bubble warning sign. The report lists 178 counties (37%) with rising foreclosure rates.

As far as bubbles go, only six counties are at risk for price overinflation and subsequent decline. These counties are now less affordable than they were during the bubble years:

6. Allegan, Mich.
Median Home Price, October 2014: $175,000
October 2014 Affordability Percentage: 26%
Peak Bubble Affordability Percentage: 25.29%

5. Travis County, Texas
Median Home Price: $374,900
October 2014 Affordability Percentage: 48.14%
Peak Bubble Affordability Percentage: 47.12%

4. Suffolk County, Mass.
Median Home Price: $423,000
October 2014 Affordability Percentage: 60.7%
Peak Bubble Affordability Percentage: 56.93%

3. Montgomery County, Tenn.
Median Home Price: $139,900
October 2014 Affordability Percentage: 21.52%
Peak Bubble Affordability Percentage: 17.1%

2. Brazos County, Texas
Median Home Price: $184,900
October 2014 Affordability Percentage: 33.89%
Peak Bubble Affordability Percentage: 28.84%

1. Jefferson County, Ala.
Median Home Price: $252,414
October 2014 Affordability Percentage: 42.29%
Peak Bubble Affordability Percentage: 29.7%
Change in Affordability:

Meanwhile, 49% of counties are historically affordable (meaning the current affordability percentage is below the average dating back to January 2000) or have flat or falling foreclosure rates. A tight lending market, combined with fresh memories of mortgage mistakes, seems to have minimized risks of entering another housing bubble. Still, finding an affordable home is a challenge in many parts of the country, even as mortgage rates have hovered at historical lows. If you’re trying to get the most bang for your borrowing buck, you need to have great credit and all of your paperwork in order to be able to afford the mortgage you need. You can get your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com to see where you stand.

More on Mortgages & Homebuying:

Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team