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New Home Purchase Applications Up 15%

Applications for new home purchases increased in March, though adjusted sales of new homes are expected to have fallen.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released Tuesday its Builder Application Survey for last month, with data showing a 15 percent month-over-month increase in new home purchase applications. The data reflects application volume from mortgage subsidiaries of homebuilders and is not adjusted for seasonal patterns.

Using application from the survey and other market assumptions, MBA estimates sales of new single-family homes in March ran at an adjusted annualized rate of 479,000 units, a decrease of 10.1 percent from February’s anticipated pace of 533,000.

On an unadjusted basis, MBA estimates there were 46,000 new home sales last month, an increase of 7.0 percent over February’s 43,000.

Data from the Census Bureau put February new home sales on track for a yearly sales pace of 440,000; Census data is based on a sampling of homes that are tracked from permit through sale, which is recorded at contract signing. March sales numbers are scheduled for release April 23.

By product type, MBA reports conventional loans accounted for 68.3 percent of March new home purchase applications. Government-insured loans through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veterans Affairs (VA), and Rural Housing Service (RHS) composed 17.2 percent, 12.9 percent, and 1.6 percent of applications, respectively.

The group also recorded a rise in the average loan size of new homes from $295,008 in February to $296,428.

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