WASHINGTON, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Mortgage applications for new home purchases in the United States increased 6 percent in February on a monthly basis, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said on Thursday.
"The housing market remains poised for a strong spring, with last month's increase in builder applications likely leading to a healthy 7 percent year-over-year rise in new home sales," said Joel Kan, associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting of MBA.
Over the year, mortgage applications for new home purchases increased 3 percent, said MBA.
Affordability has been a top concern in the U.S. housing market for months. However, MBA predicted that this concern could be eased in recent days.
"Slowing home-price growth, combined with stronger wage gains and lower mortgage rates, is translating to improving affordability conditions for spring buyers," Kan said.
Besides, MBA estimated that new single-family home sales would reach 690,000 units in February 2019. This estimation was significantly higher than the official figure of 607,000 in January, which was released by the U.S. Census Bureau earlier on Thursday.
"We are starting to see signs of more new residential construction and inventory, which increases buying opportunities for the many home shoppers who have been hampered by the ongoing lack of supply," Kan added.
The U.S. Census Bureau is scheduled to release February new single-family home sales data on March 29. The data release was delayed due to the partial government shutdown earlier this year.