New home closings grew year-over-year in December in the Des Moines, IA market, but the market seemed to show signs of leveling out as the percentage grew was less than in November 2015. There was a 1.7% rise in new home closings from a year earlier. This came after a 17.8% climb year-over-year in November.

A total of 1,572 new homes were sold during the 12 months that ended in December, up from 1,570 for the year that ended in November.

New home closings accounted for 10.4% of overall housing closings. This is down from the a year earlier when new home closings made up 12.0% of total closings. Following a year-over-year increase in November, closings of new and existing homes also increased year-over-year in December.

Pricing and Mortgage Trends

The average price of new homes climbed year-over-year in December to $304,563 per unit, a rise of 7.3%. This surge is smaller than the 15.9% rise in November year-over-year.

For newly sold homes, the average mortgage size saw a boost year-over-year along with new home prices. The average mortgage size rose to $252,679 in December, marking a 2.7% hike compared with a year earlier. Average mortgage size increased 11.4% in November 2015 from a year earlier.

Other Market Trends

The percentage of new home closings belonging to single-family homes has risen from last year while the portion of new home closings belonging to attached units has dropped. Single-family home closings jumped from 86.3% of new closings in December 2014 to 95.8% of closings in December 2015. At the same time, the share of new home closings belonging to attached units slid to 4.2% of closings from 13.7% of closings.

For all new homes sold, the average unit size grew 13.1% year-over-year to 1,942 square feet in December 2015. An increase was also seen in November 2015 when the average size of new homes sold grew 8.7% to 1,866 square feet. In November, the average size of new homes sold went from 1,717 square feet a year earlier to 1,866 square feet.

Foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) closings continued to drop from a year earlier in December, but did not appear to be dragging the market. Combined, foreclosures plus REO closings accounted for 22.1% of existing home closings, below 24.6% a year earlier. The percentage of existing home closings involving foreclosures rose to 13.8% in December from 9.9% a year earlier while REO closings as a percentage of existing home closings sank to 8.3% from 14.7% a year earlier.

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