Today, the Data & Analytics division of Black Knight, released its latest Mortgage Monitor Report, based upon the company’s industry-leading mortgage, real estate and public records datasets. With all eyes on the housing market, the most recent data from the Black Knight Home Price Index showed that home prices declined for a second consecutive month in August. As Black Knight Data & Analytics President Ben Graboske explains, July and August’s month-over-month decrease mark the sharpest contractions seen in more than 13 years.

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“The Black Knight HPI for August marked the second consecutive month that prices pulled back at the national level, with the median home price now 2% off of its June peak,” said Graboske. “Only marginally better than July’s revised 1.05% monthly decline, home prices were down an additional 0.98% in August. Either one of them would have been the largest single-month price decline since January 2009 – together they represent two straight months of significant pullbacks after more than two years of record-breaking growth. The only months with materially higher single-month price declines than we’ve seen in July and August were in the winter of 2008, following the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and subsequent financial crisis.

“Historically low inventory – along with record low interest rates – was one of the key drivers behind U.S. home prices seeing essentially a decade’s worth of appreciation in just two-and-a-half years. Inventory levels had been improving though, with our Collateral Analytics data showing both overall inventory and months of supply rising sharply from May through July. We’d climbed from 1.7 months of for-sale inventory to 3.1 months before improvement stalled in August as sellers appeared to take a step back from the market. Inventory grew at just one-tenth the rate it had been, with the market still some 600K listings short of ‘normal,’ pre-pandemic levels. It will be worth watching inventory levels closely in coming months for any sign of a shift in seller sentiment. Right now, prospective sellers are not only coming to grips with falling demand and declining prices due to sharply higher interest rates, but they also have a growing disincentive to give up their own historically low-rate mortgages in this environment. Some may be waiting out the market to see if demand – and prices – return in the spring.”

Though prices have pulled back from recent historic peaks, housing remains historically unaffordable. After improving slightly in July and early August, surging 30-year rates have pushed home affordability to its worst point in 38 years, easily surpassing June’s – at the time – record-setting 34.3% payment-to-income ratio. With rates at 6.7% as of Sept. 29, 38.2% of the median household income is needed to make the principal and interest (P&I) payment on the median-priced home purchase, the largest share since December 1984, when mortgage rates were at 13.2%. The monthly P&I payment on the median home is up $930 from the same time last year – a 73% increase. The situation is geographically widespread as well, with 84 of the 100 largest U.S. markets now at more than three-decade lows in terms of home affordability.

Much more information on these and other topics can be found in this month’s Mortgage Monitor.