According to the Mortgage Bankers Association's latest Builder Application Survey data for March 2015, mortgage applications for new U.S. home purchases increased by 17 percent relative to the previous month. This change does not include any adjustment for typical seasonal patterns.
"Overall, applications for new home purchases during the first quarter of 2015 increased 20 percent relative to the first quarter of last year. Continued strength in builder applications raises the likelihood that housing starts will be strong over the next few months," said Lynn Fisher, MBA's Vice President of Research and Economics. "Although the March employment report showed a smaller net gain in jobs, job openings are up, wages are beginning to increase more robustly, and mortgage rates remain low, all of which contribute to stronger housing markets."
By product type, conventional loans composed 66.0 percent of loan applications, FHA loans composed 20.2 percent, RHS/USDA loans composed 1.3 percent and VA loans composed 12.5 percent. The average loan size of new homes increased from $311,379 in February to $314,394 in March.
The MBA estimates new single-family home sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 510,000 units in March 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 March is an increase of 4.7 percent from the February pace of 487,000 units. On an unadjusted basis, the MBA estimates that there were 49,000 new home sales in March 2015, an increase of 16.7 percent from 42,000 new home sales in February.
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.