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Monday, May 16, 2011

Housing Data: Making foreclosure and default data publicly available

by Calculated Risk on 5/16/2011 07:05:00 PM

The housing bubble and bust exposed the poor quality of publicly available U.S. housing data. One area of improvement is the various house price indexes now available that didn't exist in January 2005 when I started this blog. But that data isn't always timely, and the details aren't always public.

There is a long long ways to go. The NAR data for existing home sales and inventory is still suspect, the Census Bureau could change their methodology so new home sales matched up better with builder reports (change the timing of sales and handling of cancellations), there is no good data available for housing demolitions, the total housing stock numbers are almost useless for analyzing the excess supply, and there is no timely data for household formation. But maybe we will have better publicly available data for foreclosures and delinquencies soon:

From Alex Ulam at National Mortgage News: Should Mortgage Servicing Data Be a Public Utility

[T]hanks to a little-discussed provision of the Dodd-Frank Act, legislators, regulators and even nonprofit housing activists may eventually get a more comprehensive picture of the mortgage servicing industry.

Section 1447 of the law calls for the Department of Housing and Urban Development to establish and maintain a comprehensive national database on foreclosures and defaults on mortgages and to make the information publicly available. The data is supposed to drill down to the census tract level and include the number and percentage of loans that are delinquent by more than 30 days; those that are in the foreclosure process; and those that are underwater.
Hopefully the database will include the number of REOs, the number of mortgages in the foreclosure process, and all the deliquency data by census tract. That would help.