New home sales, according to an unofficial estimate from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) declined by 5 percent in December compared to the previous month. Based on mortgage application data gathered through its monthly Builder Application Survey (BAS) MBA said sales were higher than in the previous December by 17 percent. Those estimates are not adjusted to account for seasonal variations.

MBA Vice President of Research and Economics Lynn Fisher said that the survey, conducted among mortgage subsidiaries of home builders across the country, showed mixed results, with some lenders seeing steady or slightly increasing applications levels while others saw declines. 

When seasonally adjusted the percentages translated on an annual basis in December to sales of 480,000 units down 8.4 percent from the November pace of 524,000.  On an monthly basis MBA estimates there were 34,000 new home sales in December compared to 37,000 in November, a decrease of 8.1 percent. 

By product type, conventional loans composed 68.0 percent of loan applications, FHA loans 18.5 percent, VA loans 12.6 percent, and RHS/USDA loans 1.0 percent.  The average loan size of new homes increased from $320,854 in November to $333,182 in December.

Utilizing the BAS data combined with data from other sources, MBA attempts to provide an early estimate of new home sales volumes at the national, state, and metro level.  Official new home sales estimates are conducted by the Census Bureau on a monthly basis.  That data is recorded at contract signing, which is typically coincident with the mortgage application.