Black Knight did not publish a Mortgage Monitor in January, so the new issue looks at the mortgage market at the end of 2021 into the early days of 2022. The company says that home price growth, which showed signs of cooling in the summer and fall of last year now appears to be re-accelerating, in part because of worsening inventories, which the company calls a crisis. Much of the report, however, is devoted to the performance of mortgage loans almost two years after the pandemic sent the economy into a brief, but dramatic freefall. While delinquency data for the period was reported in Black Knight’s “first look” last month, the company takes a more detailed look at the current status of the forbearance program and seriously delinquent loans. As to home prices, they were up 0.84 percent in December, the largest growth on record for that month and a quarter point greater than the December 2020 gain. More than three quarters of the largest 100 markets saw increases slow between July and August of last year, now nearly all have picked up the pace due to a shrinking supply of homes. The company says it expects that trend continued into January as well. Black Knight says condo prices continue to rise faster than single family home prices due to a more depleted inventory. This is contrary to a recent report from CoreLogic which found detached units appreciating at a rate 5.5 points higher than attached units. Home price increases are now colliding with rising interest rates and the principal and interest (P&I) payments required to purchase the average priced home with a 20 percent down payment and a 30-year mortgage rose 32 percent from December 2020 to an all-time high of $1,454 per month. This payment requires 25.8 percent of the median household income compared to 22.4 percent a year earlier. Twenty-five percent is the long-term pre-Great Recession average payment to income ratio, meaning the current payment represents the worst affordability since 2008.

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