Falling energy prices, which adds money to consumers' pockets, are actually detrimental to the housing markets for big energy states. Bankruptcies of energy companies and staff layoffs can lead to a drop in demand, as more people will have trouble getting mortgages for home buying. And if demand falls behind supply, home price increases may slow or even turn downward. CNN/Money staffer Kathryn Vasel talks to industry experts and points out the geography of red flag warnings. Vasel writes:
North Dakota is the most at risk for falling home prices, according to experts. The state's most recent oil rush led to a housing boom as people poured in looking for jobs. But now, as oil prices sit near 12-year lows, the boom could be fading along with job opportunities.
"The jobs are leaving, and if an area gets depopulated, they can't take the houses with them and that's dangerous for the housing market," said Ralph DeFranco, senior director of risk analytics and pricing at Arch Mortgage Insurance Company.
Now, home prices in North Dakota are 20% overvalued, according to a report from Arch MI, with a 46% chance they'll decline in the next two years. While that means there's less than a 50% chance of a decline, the outlook could worsen if energy prices and employment weaken.