In the Lincoln, NE market in January, new home closings declined year-over-year, but the percentage drop, which was less steep than in December 2015, seemed to be hinting at market improvement. There was a 8.1% drop in new home closings from a year earlier. This followed a 27.6% fall year-over-year in December.

A total of 618 new homes were sold during the 12 months that ended in January, down from 621 for the year that ended in December.

As a percentage of overall housing closings, new home closings represented 9.2%. This is down from the a year earlier when new home closings accounted for 10.7% of total closings. Closings of new and existing homes gained year-over-year in January after also rising in December year-over-year.

Pricing and Mortgage Trends

In January, the average price of newly sold homes jumped year-over-year to $275,618 per unit, a 7.8% bump. This lift is smaller than the 10.7% surge in December year-over-year.

Average mortgage size on new homes grew year-over-year along with new home prices. In January 2016, there was a 8.0% boost in the average mortgage size, reaching $221,626. In December 2015, average mortgage size rose 8.8% from a year earlier.

Other Market Trends

Single-family homes accounted for a greater percentage of new home closings than last year. The share of new home closings belonging to single-family homes gained from 78.4% in January 2015 to 91.2% of closings in January 2016. Conversely, the share of new home closings belonging to attached units sank to 8.8% of closings from 21.6% of closings.

There was a 22.0% bump year-over-year in the average unit size of newly sold homes to 2,121 square feet in January 2016. The average size of newly sold homes moved from 1,694 square feet in December 2014 to 1,712 square feet in December 2015. An increase in both the average size and price of newly sold homes was also seen in December 2015 when the average size climbed 1.1% to 1,712 square feet.

Foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) closings continued to decline from a year earlier in January, but did not appear to be dragging the market. Out of all existing home closings, foreclosures combined with REO closings made up 16.5% of closings, below 18.1% a year earlier. The percentage of existing home closings involving foreclosures dropped to 9.0% in January from 10.7% a year earlier while REO closings as a percentage of existing home closings stayed level at 7.5%.

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