Wednesday, March 23, 2016

MBA Mortgage Index and February New Home Sales Report

Summary provided by briefing.com

  • The weekly MBA Mortgage Index showed a seasonally adjusted downtick of 3.3%, compared to last week's 3.3% decline.
  • New home sales, which are counted when a contract is signed, were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 512,000 in February, up 2.0% from an upwardly revised level of 502,000 (from 494,000) for January. The February number was nearly spot-on with the Briefing.com consensus estimate of 511,000.
    • As expected, sales in the West saw a huge reversal from the weakness in January, surging 38.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 151,000. January sales, which fell 32.7%, were reportedly impeded by abnormally wet weather.
    • Notwithstanding the big uptick in the West, total new home sales growth was still only modest due to a 4.1% decline in sales in the South, which is the biggest region for new home sales, accounting for 55% of new home sales in February. On a year-over-year basis, new home sales in the South are down 14.3%.
    • The Northeast saw the biggest drop in February, with sales declining 24.2%, and was followed by the Midwest, which saw sales slump 17.9% from January. Those downturns are apt to be blamed on inclement winter weather conditions. The March report will reveal if that in fact was the case.
    • The median sales price of new houses sold in February was $301,400, up 6.2% from January and up 2.6% from the same period a year ago.
    • At the current sales pace, there is a 5.6-month supply of new homes for sale, which is unchanged from January.

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