January New Home Purchase Mortgage Applications Increased 35%

Real Estate In-Depth | February 2020

WASHINGTON—The Mortgage Bankers Association Builder Application Survey (BAS) data for January 2020 released on Feb. 18 showed mortgage applications for new home purchases increased 35.3% compared from a year ago. Compared to December 2019, applications increased by 40%. This change does not include any adjustment for typical seasonal patterns.

MBA estimates new single-family home sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 865,000 units in January 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.

“New home applications and sales activity surged in January. This was a continuation of the end of 2019, which saw strong residential construction and increased purchase applications activity,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Even with some global and domestic economic uncertainty, builders have ramped up production in recent months to meet increased homebuyer demand.”

Kan added, “MBA estimates that January new home sales increased 25% over the month to a sales pace of 865,000 units, while the average loan size increased to $346,000—both record highs since the survey began in 2012.”

The seasonally adjusted estimate for January is an increase of 25.5% from the December pace of 689,000 units. On an unadjusted basis, MBA estimated there were 66,000 new home sales in January 2020, an increase of 37.5%^ from 48,000 new home sales in December.

By product type, conventional loans composed 69.5% of loan applications, FHA loans composed 17.8%, RHS/USDA loans composed 0.8% and VA loans composed 12%. The average loan size of new homes increased from $338,625 in December to $346,140 in January.