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Housing affordability hits nine-year low

The home-purchase market sunk to its least affordable point since 2009 to begin the year, Black Knight reported this week.

Although the market remains more affordable than the long-run average, lower-income buyers are being challenged by fast appreciating home prices in the lowest price tier, and a recent surge in interest rates, the company said.

Interest rates rose 43 basis points in the first six weeks of 2018, Black Knight reported. Prices in the lowest price tier are appreciating at an annual rate of 8.5 percent. 

“Prices on tier 1 properties – those in the lowest 20 percent of home values – have been appreciating at a faster rate than all other tiers for 67 consecutive months,” said Ben Graboske, executive vice president of Black Knight’s data & analytics division.

“The annual rate of appreciation for these homes is 1.9 percent higher than the market average, and more than 3.6 percent higher than that of properties in the top 20 percent of prices,” Graboske said. 

Graboske said that it currently takes 23 percent of the median income to purchase the median home nationally, which is the highest share of income since 2009, but 1.9 percent below the averages from 1995 to 2003.


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