December mortgage applications jump nearly 8 percent

by Kelly McCabe

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A new report from the Mortgage Bankers Association shows that mortgage applications in 2017 increased 7.1 percent from 2016, including a 7.8 percent hike in December to close out the year.

“After playing catchup for two months following the slowdown caused by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, mortgage applications for new homes declined in December to a more normal growth rate of 7.8 percent on a year over year basis,” said Lynn Fisher, MBA vice president of research and economics.

The organization said that based on applications, new home sales fell last month but still were up 16 percent from the same time last year. New single-family home sales reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 554,000 units in December 2017, which is 16.4 percent less than November’s amount of 663,000. On an unadjusted basis, the MBA found that there were 40,000 new home sales in December, down 14.9 percent from 47,000 in November.

In 2018, the MBA forecasts that there will be modest year over year growth because, while there’s no lack of demand from consumers, labor and land shortages will hamper the market.