Applications for new home purchases increased 17% in March compared to February, on an unadjusted basis, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Builder Application Survey.
Of the applications submitted for new home purchases, about 66.0% were for loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, while 20.2% were for Rural Housing Service/U.S. Department of Agriculture loans and 1.3% were for Veterans Affairs loans.
‘Overall, applications for new home purchases during the first quarter of 2015 increased 20 percent relative to the first quarter of last year,’ says Lynn Fisher, vice president of research and economics for the MBA, in a statement. ‘Continued strength in builder applications raises the likelihood that housing starts will be strong over the next few months.
‘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,’ she adds.
In March the average loan size for a new home was $314,394, up from $311,379 in February.
The MBA estimates that new single-family home sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 510,000 units in March, an increase of 4.7% 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, an increase of 16.7% from 42,000 new home sales in February.