The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Builder Application Survey (BAS) data for February 2020 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases increased 25.9 percent compared from a year ago. Compared to January 2020, applications decreased by 1 percent. This change does not include any adjustment for typical seasonal patterns.
“Despite a monthly decrease in February new applications and estimated new home sales, the year-over-year trends were strong, with new applications increasing 26 percent, and our estimate of new home sales increasing 8 percent,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Looking ahead, there is significant uncertainty regarding how the coronavirus epidemic will impact the housing market, and some of January’s record-level activity could have been attributed to the warmer winter weather, lower mortgage rates, and the tight inventory of existing homes on the market – especially in lower price tiers.”
MBA estimates new single-family home sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 746,000 units in February 2020, 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 13.8 percent from the January pace of 865,000 units. On an unadjusted basis, MBA estimates that there were 64,000 new home sales in February 2020, a decrease of 3 percent from 66,000 new home sales in January.
By product type, conventional loans composed 69.3 percent of loan applications, FHA loans composed 18.5 percent, RHS/USDA loans composed 0.8 percent and VA loans composed 11.4 percent. The average loan size of new homes decreased from $346,140 in January to $340,169 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.