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February Shows Increase in New Home Mortgage Applications

Mortgage applications for new home purchases increased by 12 percent relative to the previous month, according to the recently released Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Builder Application Survey (BAS) data for February 2015.

“An increase in mortgage applications to builders in February over strong January numbers bodes well for new home purchases this year,” says Lynn Fisher, MBA’s Vice President of Research and Economics. “Applications in both January and February were up on a year-over-year basis.”

By product type, conventional loans composed 65.4 percent of loan applications, FHA loans composed 20.7 percent, RHS/USDA loans composed 1.2 percent and VA loans composed 12.7 percent. The average loan size of new homes increased from $304,364 in January to $311,379 in February.

The MBA estimates new single-family home sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 487,000 units in February 2015, based on data from the BAS. The new home sales estimate is derived using mortgage application information from the BAS, as well as assumptions regarding market coverage and other factors.

The seasonally adjusted estimate for February is a decrease of 8.1 percent from the January pace of 530,000 units. On an unadjusted basis, the MBA estimates that there were 42,000 new home sales in February 2015, an increase of 7.7 percent from 39,000 new home sales in January.

MBA’s Builder Application Survey tracks application volume from mortgage subsidiaries of home builders across the country. Utilizing this data, as well as data from other sources, MBA is able to provide an early estimate of new home sales volumes at the national, state, and metro level. This data also provides information regarding the types of loans used by new home buyers. Official new home sales estimates are conducted by the Census Bureau on a monthly basis. In that data, new home sales are recorded at contract signing, which is typically coincident with the mortgage application.

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