Applications for mortgages for new home purchases increased 6% in February compared with January and were up 3% compared with February 2018, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Builder Application Survey (BAS).
“The housing market remains poised for a strong spring, with last month’s increase in builder applications likely leading to a healthy seven percent year-over-year rise in new home sales,” says Joel Kan, associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting for the MBA, in a statement. “We are starting to see signs of more new residential construction and inventory, which increases buying opportunities for the many home shoppers who have been hampered by the ongoing lack of supply.”
Kan adds that “slowing home-price growth, combined with stronger wage gains and lower mortgage rates, is translating to improving affordability conditions for spring buyers.”
New single-family home sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 690,000 units in February, the MBA estimates based on data from the BAS. That’s a decrease of 3.2% compared with the January pace of 713,000 units.
On an unadjusted basis, the MBA estimates there were 59,000 new home sales in February, an increase of 9.3% from 54,000 new home sales in January.
According to the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, new home sales in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 607,000, a decrease of 6.9% compared with a revised 652,000 in December and a decrease of 4.1% compared with about 633,000 in January 2018.
The median sales price for a new, single-family home sold in January was $317,200. The average sales price was $373,100.
Previously, new home sales in December had reached an annual rate of 621,000, an increase of 3.7% compared with November but down 2.4% compared with December 2017, HUD reports.