Home affordability highest since 2016, says Black Knight

Thanks to all-time low mortgage rates in July, the average-priced home is the most affordable it’s been since late 2016, according to Black Knight’s latest mortgage monitor report.

The record level of affordability comes despite home prices rising for 97 consecutive months, Black Knight reported. Buying power for home shoppers was up 10% year over year in July, with buyers able to afford almost $32,000 more home than they could with the same monthly payment during July of last year.

“As of mid-July, it required 19.8% of the median monthly income to make the mortgage payment on the average-priced home purchase, assuming a 20% down payment and a 30-year mortgage,” explained Ben Graboske, Black Knight data and analytics president. “That was more than 5% below the average of 25% from 1995-2003.

“This means it currently requires a $1,071 monthly payment to purchase the average-priced home, which is down 6% from the same time last year, despite the average home increasing in value by more than $12,000 during that same time period.”

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In fact, noted Graboske, buying power is now up 10% annually.

All of the 25 largest markets in the country saw their highest affordability levels in over two years, and in many places, affordability is the strongest it’s been in more than a decade. Baltimore, for example, saw housing at its most affordable since before the Great Recession during July, reported Black Knight.

Six states —Louisiana, Arkansas, Iowa, West Virginia, Kentucky and Maryland — posted their lowest payment-to-income ratios in more than 25 years.

“A main takeaway from this month’s report,” Graboske said, “is that while record levels of job losses are certainly still weighing on the housing market and broader economy, for those shopping for a home now, buying power has clearly trended up.”


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