New-home purchase apps continue hurricane recovery

MBA predicts open construction jobs will pose a challenge to homebuilding in 2018

New-home purchase apps continue hurricane recovery

The volume of mortgage applications for new-home purchases showed signs of continued recovery in November, according to Builder Applications Survey data for November released by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

New-home purchase applications increased 12.2% compared to November 2016. However, applications slipped 6% on a month-over-month basis. This change does not include any adjustment for typical seasonal patterns.

"New homes sales continued to recover in November from the impact of hurricanes, up just a bit on a seasonally adjusted basis over the month, and nearly 13% higher than a year ago, according to our projections from monthly application activity. Looking ahead to 2018, filling open construction jobs will remain a main challenge for the homebuilding industry," said Lynn Fisher, MBA vice president of research and economics.

According to MBA estimates based on survey data, November had new single-family home sales running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 663,000 units. The November estimate is up 0.6% from the pace of 659,000 units in October. Meanwhile, the MBA estimates 47,000 new home sales in November on an unadjusted basis, which is down 11.3% from the October figure of 53,000 new home sales.

Conventional loans made up the bulk of all loan applications at 71.4% of the total. FHA loans composed 15.2%, while RHS/USDA loans made up 1.1%. Applications for VA loans were 12.3% of the total.

Loans for new homes had an average size of $337,427 in November, down from $339,534 in October.