Applications for new home purchase mortgages fell by 19.4 percent on a non-seasonally adjusted basis in April. The Mortgage Bankers Association said responses to its Builder Applications Survey (BAS) produced an estimate of 50,000 new home sales during the month, compared to sales of 62,000 new homes in March.  Sales were also lower than the previous April, a decline of 4.3 percent.  

On a seasonally adjusted annual basis MBA estimates new single-family house sold at a rate of 517,000 units in April.  This is down 22.8 percent from the March pace of 670,000 units.

Lynn Fisher, MBA's Vice President of Research and Economics said, "For the first time this year, mortgage applications for new homes in April were lower than the same month a year ago. Mortgage applications for new homes fell more than 20 percent in April after peaking in March, as they have the past 2 years.  A relatively strong March may have pulled forward some applications from April, exacerbating the normal seasonal fall-off. On net, year to date applications for new homes are running about 3 percent above the same period from 2016. Despite steady demand for housing, homebuilders continue to face rising costs for labor and materials which will continue to moderate the pace of building."

Applications for conventional loans composed 68.5 percent of total new home purchase applications.  FHA loans composed 17.7 percent, VA loans 12.4 percent, and RHS/USDA loans accounted for 1.4 percent. The average loan size of new homes was lower in April, $326,284, compared to $328,192 in March.

The Builder Applications Survey tracks application volume from mortgage subsidiaries of home builders across the country. MBA utilizes this data, as well as assumptions regarding market coverage and other factors, to provide an early estimate of new home sales volumes at the national, state, and metro level as well as information regarding the types of loans used by new home buyers. Official new home sales estimates are published monthly by the Census Bureau.  In that data, sales are recorded at contract signing, which is typically coincident with the mortgage application.  Census figures on April new home sales will be released on Tuesday, May 23.