Revealed – dire impact of home price growth on housing affordability

Growing share of new listings will likely create headwinds, Black Knight says

Revealed – dire impact of home price growth on housing affordability

The persisting trend of aggressive home price growth and shrinking supply of homes continues to put pressure on home affordability, according to Black Knight’s latest Mortgage Monitor Report.

Even with mortgage rates hovering at 3%, the share of median income needed to purchase the median-priced home has surpassed its five-year average of 20.1% and is trending up (20.5% as of the beginning of June).

“In recent years, 20.5% has roughly been the tipping point at which appreciation begins to decelerate, but given the severity of inventory shortages, home prices have – at least for now – continued to sharply accelerate even in the face of tightening affordability,” said Ben Graboske, president of Black Knight Data and Analytics.

The tight inventory of homes for sale has pushed home prices to appreciate at 14.8% on an annual basis in April. This marked the highest annual home price growth rate Black Knight has ever seen in the past 30 years. Single-family homes led the way, with prices up 15.6% from the same time last year – also an all-time high – while condo prices are up 10% year-over-year.

“Driving this growth are two key elements: historically low-interest rates and – more acutely – the lack of available for-sale inventory,” Graboske said. “The total number of active listings was down 60% from the 2017 to 2019 average for April. It’s not getting any better, either.”

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Data from Black Knight’s Collateral Analytics group found that there was two months’ worth of single-family inventory nationwide in March – the lowest share on record. Inflow is also down, as there were 26% fewer newly listed properties in April than pre-pandemic seasonal levels.

“The buydown of existing homes has buoyed lending and sales volumes, but the backlog of seasoned inventory has been nearly depleted at this point. Twelve months ago, newly listed properties accounted for just 27% of total active listings; as of April 2021, they now account for more than 75%, and the share is rising rapidly,

“This has begun – and will likely continue – to create noticeable headwinds for both purchase lending and existing home sale volumes in coming months. It’s already pushing home prices higher and impacting affordability,” Black Knight said in the report.