Home Purchase Mortgage Apps Fell Nearly 30% in December

According to a new report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Builder Application Survey (BAS), data for December 2022 shows mortgage applications for new home purchases decreased 25.2% compared from a year ago. Compared to November 2022, applications decreased by 5%. This change does not include any adjustment for typical seasonal patterns.

“December new home purchase activity – both for applications and estimated sales–ran more than 20% behind last year’s pace,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s VP and Deputy Chief Economist. “The decline in activity was in line with single-family housing starts that were 32% lower than a year ago. Higher mortgage rates and a weakening economy held back buyers at the end of last year.”

“This week’s builder sentiment index from the NAHB reflected an improving outlook and increased homebuyer traffic, as mortgage rates have backed off from recent highs,” said Kan. “The housing market is still in need of more starter and entry-level homes, especially when current demographic trends point to the potential for more younger households to enter homeownership in the near future. New construction of these units will help these buyers entering the housing market.”

MBA estimates new single-family home sales, which has consistently been a leading indicator of the U.S. Census Bureau’s New Residential Sales report, is that new single-family home sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 641,000 units in December 2022, 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.

The seasonally adjusted estimate for December is a decrease of 2.9 percent from the November pace of 660,000 units. On an unadjusted basis, MBA estimates that there were 45,000 new home sales in December 2022, a decrease of 8.2% from 49,000 new home sales in November.

By product type, conventional loans composed 69.1% of loan applications, FHA loans composed 20%, RHS/USDA loans composed 0.3% and VA loans composed 10.5%. The average loan size of new homes increased from $392,465 in November to $399,555 in December.

For additional information on MBA’s Builder Application Survey, please click here.

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