NAHB analysis of the most recent Census estimates concerning sources of financing for new home sales reveals that the composition of mortgages by financing method shifted over the third quarter of 2016. The share of new home sales financed with conventional loans expanded at the expense of FHA-insured and VA-backed mortgages. The shift to conventional mortgages indicates continued return to health in the mortgage market.
The Census Bureau’s Quarterly Sales by Price and Financing reports that the conventional share fell to 57% in the third quarter of 2010. Since then, the conventional share has trended upward, reaching 74% in the third quarter of 2016, 6 percentage points above its level in the previous quarter, 68%. However, as Figure 1 illustrates, in quarters prior to the most recent one, the conventional share remained relatively steady.
The expanded conventional share of new home sales over the third quarter of 2016 was partially offset by a decline in the percentage of sales financed with FHA-insured mortgages. After rising from 10% in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 17% in the second quarter of 2016, largely reflecting a decline in the annual MIP, the share held steady at or near this level until second quarter of 2016 before falling 3 percentage points to 14% in the third quarter.
In addition, the share of new home sales backed by VA mortgages fell to 7% over the third quarter after holding steady at or near 9% since the fourth quarter of 2014. Meanwhile, the share of homes financed with all cash was unchanged over the third quarter at 5% near its average level in 2002, 4%. However, while cash sales account for 5% of total new home sales, new construction accounts for 15% of all-cash sales.
The future evolution of the financing composition remains is worth tracking. On the one hand, the compositional shift recorded over the third quarter of 2016 may point to return to the mix of financing seen in the years just prior to the most recent recession. On the other hand, the shift in composition may be a temporary occurrence and components may return to the steady proportions that steadily prevailed over 2015 and the first half of 2016.