Mortgage applications for new home purchases increased by 17% relative to the previous month, the March Mortgage Bankers Association’s Builder Application Survey said.

The survey tracks application volume from mortgage subsidiaries of homebuilder across the country. Also, this does not include any seasonal adjustments for typical seasonal patterns.

“Overall, applications for new home purchases during the first quarter of 2015 increased 20 percent relative to the first quarter of last year. Continued strength in builder applications raises the likelihood that housing starts will be strong over the next few months,” said Lynn Fisher, MBA’s vice president of research and economics.

“Although the March employment report showed a smaller net gain in jobs, job openings are up, wages are beginning to increase more robustly, and mortgage rates remain low, all of which contribute to stronger housing markets,” said Fisher.

Individually, conventional loans composed 66% of loan applications, FHA loans composed 20.2%, RHS/USDA loans composed 1.3% and VA loans composed 12.5%. In addition, the average loan size of new homes increased from $311,379 in February to $314,394 in March.

The MBA estimates new single-family home sales were running at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 510,000 units in March 2015.

The seasonally adjusted estimate for March is an increase of 4.7% from the February pace of 487,000 units. On an unadjusted basis, the MBA estimates that there were 49,000 new home sales in March 2015, an increase of 16.7% from 42,000 new home sales in February.

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