Home sales have declined every month in 2022, and home-price appreciation continues to show signs of retreating rapidly, according to a new report.

It’s a well-known fact that New Jersey is one of the most expensive places to live in the country. Especially when it comes to housing. So much so, that when ATTOM, a real estate data analysis company did a study back in June about which housing markets in the country were most “vulnerable” to a marked downturn, many of NJ's 21 counties appeared on the list. Vulnerability is measured by home ownership costs like mortgage payments, property taxes and insurance against how much money a homeowner actually earns.

In New Jersey, property taxes are enough to put most of us over the line in terms of housing affordability.

In fact, According to an article by Patrick Lavery on New Jersey 1015.com, six New Jersey counties appeared on a top ten most vulnerable list — and when that list was expanded to include the top 50, five more NJ counties made the cut.

While not surprising, it’s still striking to read that In terms of the percentage of monthly income it takes someone to buy property, percentage of underwater loans — (where more is still due than the property is worth) foreclosure and unemployment rates, we have so many counties that are at risk of a massive topple.

Further, the nation's three most vulnerable housing markets are in New Jersey, according to the report. Passaic, Essex and Atlantic counties top the rankings, in that order, based on the above data points.

In the study, ATTOM measured local wages against the expenses for median-priced, single-family homes in their respective areas for the first quarter of the year.

Here’s how our worst three counties ranked according to that data. And remember — this is as compared to other counties in the entire 50 states.

San Joaquin County, California: 48.9 percent of average local wages needed for major homeownership costs


Bergen County: 48.3 percent


Solano County, California: 46.6 percent


Passaic County: 46.5 percent


Ocean County: 42.5 percent

To our that into perspective, nationwide, the average was 26.3 percent of local wages.

Are we heading for a tremendous fall? No one knows. But this data seems to support the idea that if it’s going to happen anywhere in the country, we are probably going to be one of the first in the line of dominoes waiting to fall.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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2021 NJ property taxes: See how your town compares

Find your municipality in this alphabetical list to see how its average property tax bill for 2021 compares to others. You can also see how much the average bill changed from 2020. For an interactive map version, click here. And for the full analysis by New Jersey 101.5, read this story.

New Jersey's smallest towns by population

New Jersey's least populated municipalities, according to the 2020 Census. This list excludes Pine Valley, which would have been the third-smallest with 21 residents but voted to merge into Pine Hill at the start of 2022.

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