New Home Sales Up 3% YoY

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New home sales are
projected to have increased again in February. 
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said that based on its Builder
Applications Survey (BAS) it anticipates those sales grew 4.6 percent compared
to January
and were 3 percent higher on a year-over-year basis. These numbers
do not include any adjustment for typical seasonal patterns. When seasonally
adjusted, the February estimate is down from 700,000 in January, a decrease of
9.7 percent.

On an unadjusted basis MBA
estimates there were 55,000 new homes sold during the month. This is an
increase of 1.9 percent from 54,000 new home sales in January.

“Mortgage applications
for new homes continued to grow in February on a year over year basis, although
at a slower pace of just under 5 percent, as brisk activity in January likely
pulled forward some buyer activity
,” said Lynn Fisher, MBA Vice President of
Research and Economics. “Combined, applications in January and February were up
by 11 percent relative the same period last year. On a seasonally adjusted
annual basis, our February estimate of new home sales based on mortgage
applications came in at 632,000, ahead of the January Census estimate of
593,000 new homes sales, and back on trend following an uptick from
hurricane-related rebuilding. “

Conventional loan
applications represented 70.8 percent of those filed for new home
purchases.  FHA loans accounted for 15.7
percent, VA loans for 12.4 percent, and Rural Housing Services loans through
the Department of Agriculture for 1.1 percent. The average loan size of new
homes declined slightly, from $338,918 in January to $338,078 in February.

MBA’s survey tracks
application volume from mortgage subsidiaries of home builders across the
country, and the new home sales estimate is derived using mortgage application
information from the BAS, as well as assumptions regarding market coverage and
other factors.


Official new home sales
estimates are provided by the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and
Urban Development on a monthly basis. In that data, new home sales are recorded
at contract signing, which is typically coincident with the mortgage
application. The Census/HUD estimate for February will be released on March 23



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