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A house under construction in Livermore, Calif. , in August. New construction of single-family homes is stuck near levels hit during the early 1990s recession. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News The U. housing market dragged the economy into a deep recession nearly eight years agoS Could it now insulate the domestic expansion during a fragile period of global growth.

Interest rates on conventional mortgages for newly built homes fell again in August 2016 according to data released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFHA), extending the decline to 7 consecutive months. The FHFA data show that the average contract rate on the loans fell from 3.64% to 3.60%, while initial fees and charges went from 1.11% to 1.09%. As a result, the average effective interest rate on loans used to purchase newly built homes, which amortizes initial fees over the estimated life of the loan, dropped to 3.68% from 3.74%.

Recently released data from the US Census’ Survey of Construction (SOC) show that 10 percent of single-family homes started in 2015 have 2 or less bedrooms, 43 percent have 3 bedrooms, 36 percent have 4 bedrooms, and 11 percent have 5 or more bedrooms. Three bedroom homes have consistently been the most common type of new single-family home built. However, the share of new homes with 3 bedrooms has declined, going from 54 percent in 2009 to 43 percent in 2015 (Figure 1).

NAHB analysis of the most recent Census estimates concerning sources of financing for new home sales reveals that the share of mortgages financed through conventional, FHA, and VA loans, as well as cash, held steady in the second quarter of 2016 while the number of new homes sold grew by 22%. According to data from the  Census Bureau’s Quarterly Sales by Price and Financing  and NAHB calculations, new home sales due to FHA-backed loans increased to a quarterly count of 28,000 as market share of remained at 17% for the second quarter of 2016. The FHA share rose sharply at the start of 2015 due to a change in   Read More New Home Sales: Financing Source Shares Hold Steady