Latest figures on Housing outlook and Economy

Housing policy experts and community activists have long been concerned about access to mortgage credit in underserved neighborhoods. Insufficient access to credit, attributable to outdated underwriting
guidelines or a legacy of discrimination can hinder housing wealth creation and economic development.
For many years, the federal government’s collection of Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data has provided one benchmark of whether advances are being made in providing credit to these communities.
Disadvantages with this loan-level data set are the long lag before their release and the public availability of only calendar year data rather than higher frequency, such as monthly. While descriptions of what constitutes an underserved area may vary, one metric is the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA)
definitions of both low-income and minority census tracts.1 The Agency uses these to assess the affordable housing performance of the government-sponsored enterprises it regulates. We compared the annual trend in the HMDA data with what we have in CoreLogic’s public records, and then used
CoreLogic data to update the trend through July 2018. (Figure 1) What we found was that CoreLogic’s public records tracked very closely with the trends in the HMDA data.2 Further, the share of home purchase mortgage lending in low-income areas or moderate-income minority census tracts has increased steadily from the low point in 2012 and 2013. For 2018 through July, this share was the highest since 2010. The increase in 2018 occurred even though the FHA share of purchase-mortgage lending is less than it was one year ago. FHA-insured loans tend to have a higher share of low income
and high-minority census tract lending than conventional. (Figure 2) But the share of conventional loans made in low-income and minority areas has steadily grown over the last six years, in part because
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have begun to fund conventional loans with three-percent down payment and up to 50-percent debt-to-income ratios. We will continue to monitor these trends with our public records data. Further increases in the share of loans made in underserved neighborhoods are likely as their local economies improve in the coming year.