The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Builder Application Survey (BAS) data for March 2019 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases increased 7 percent compared to a year ago. Compared to February 2019, applications increased by 19 percent. This change does not include any adjustment for typical seasonal patterns.
“With a strong job market, rising wages and lower mortgage rates, housing demand remains strong, as shown by the solid 7 percent growth in new home purchase applications in March,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “The confluence of declining mortgage rates with the spring buying season is supporting stronger housing demand and activity. Additionally, the drop in average loan size suggests that builders are tilting production to lower-priced homes, which continues to see the tightest inventories and strongest home-price growth.”
MBA estimates new single-family home sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 676,000 units in March 2019, 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 a decrease of 2 percent from the February pace of 690,000 units. On an unadjusted basis, MBA estimates that there were 66,000 new home sales in March 2019, an increase of 11.9 percent from 59,000 new home sales in February.
By product type, conventional loans composed 68.7 percent of loan applications, FHA loans composed 18.8 percent, RHS/USDA loans composed 0.5 percent and VA loans composed 12 percent. The average loan size of new homes decreased from $340,692 in February to $331,794 in March.
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.
For additional information on MBA’s Builder Applications Survey, please click here.