After plummeting 9% the previous month, applications for new home purchases were unchanged in September, compared to August, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Builder Application Survey (BAS), which tracks application volume from mortgage subsidiaries of home builders across the country.
New home sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 425,000 in September, an increase of 0.2% from the August estimate of 424,000 units, according to the report.
On an unadjusted basis, the MBA estimates that there were 32,000 new home sales in September, a decrease of 5.9% from 34,000 in August.
In September, 67.6% of applications for new homes were for conventional loans, 16.7% were for Federal Housing Administration loans, 1.2% were for Rural Housing Service/U.S. Department of Agriculture loans and 14.5% were for Veterans Affairs loans.
The average loan size for a new home decreased from $300,443 in August to $298,274 in September.
Mike Fratantoni, chief economist for the MBA, points out that the BAS' findings so far have been in line with those of the U.S. Census Bureau, which also tracks new home sales. However, there have been ‘a few exceptions.’
‘Earlier this summer, and again last month, the first estimates from Census were significantly higher than the estimates implied from the applications data,’ Fratantoni says. ‘However, the revised data from Census resulted in a much closer match to MBA's estimates, and we anticipate that will be the case going forward, given the high rate of coverage in our survey.’