New home closings grew year-over-year in January in the St. George, UT market, and the percentage lift, which was better than December 2015, suggested the market may be improving. Closings climbed 45.2% from a year earlier to 61. This followed a 8.5% boost year-over-year in December.

A total of 893 new homes were sold during the 12 months that ended in January, up from 874 for the year that ended in December.

Of 320 total closings, 61 were of new homes. This is an increase on a percentage basis, as new home closings were 11.8% of total closings a year ago. For new and existing homes, closings fell in January after also declining in December year-over-year.

Pricing and Mortgage Trends

The average price of newly sold homes grew year-over-year 5.9% in January to $329,463 per unit. This surge compares to a 5.6% drop in December from a year earlier.

There was a gain year-over-year in the average mortgage size on new homes along with new home prices. In January 2016, the average mortgage size was $284,415, up 6.5% from a year earlier. Average mortgage size declined 6.2% in December 2015 from a year earlier.

Other Market Trends

The share of new home closings made up by attached units has risen while the share belonging to single-family homes has fallen. The share of new home closings belonging to attached units jumped from 4.8% of closings in January 2015 to 13.1% of closings in January 2016. At the same time, the share belonging to single-family homes declined to 86.9% of closings from 95.2% of closings.

The average unit size of newly sold homes rose 17.4% year-over-year to 2,577 square feet in January 2016. The average size of newly sold homes moved from 2,207 square feet in December 2014 to 3,314 square feet in December 2015.

Foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) closings continued to drop from a year earlier in January, but did not look to be a burden on the market. Foreclosures and REO closings, taken together, represented 9.7% of existing closings, lower than 12.1% a year earlier. The percentage of existing home closings involving foreclosures went from 6.7% in January 2015 to 5.8% in January 2016 and REO closings as a percentage of existing home closings fell to 3.9% from 5.4% a year earlier.

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