Urban Wire Interactive map shows 12 years and more than 100 million new mortgages in 24 seconds
Taz George
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Today, we unveiled a powerful new tool for understanding mortgage lending in the United States: an interactive map that transforms 12 years of data on more than 100 million mortgages into a compelling visualization of mortgage originations by race and ethnicity throughout the country.  For the first time, anyone can see at a glance when and where new mortgage loans were made to African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Non-Hispanic white borrowers. It’s a quick and easy way to understand how the boom and bust played out for these racial and ethnic groups in every American community.

Every dot on the map represents 20 new mortgage loans and the map allows users to zoom in to any metropolitan area and download specific data for hundreds of cities.

And when the newest mortgage data on 2013 originations are released later this month, this map will be the place to go to understand what those data mean.

Here are answers to the top 10 questions about the new map:

  1. We know that minorities were hit harder in the boom and bust, so what does the map add? This map is the first clear, visual representation of how the boom and bust impacted mortgage lending to different racial and ethnic groups and different cities and towns over the 12-year period. We know the numbers, but we’ve never been able to show the impact on different groups and communities so vividly.
  2. Why is the map important? The map shows how the housing boom and bust particularly damaged African-American and Hispanic communities, where tight credit is a major factor that continues to prevent many households from benefiting from rising home prices, and how different regions have had very different experiences over the course of the recovery.
  3. Are these data publicly available? Yes, the data are from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) that we’ve pulled together from different public sources and transformed into something you can watch in 24 seconds.  Note that the large expanses in rural America with a smaller number of loans appearing on our map reflect both lower density of borrowers as well as limited HMDA coverage outside of metropolitan areas.
  4. What does the map reveal about African-American and Hispanic communities?  The map reveals that African-Americans and Hispanics were more vulnerable to the bust and less likely to benefit from the recovery because of when they entered the market. The combined number of African-American and Hispanic mortgages rose 83 percent from 2001 to 2006, and then plummeted 68 percent over the next three years.
  5. What does the map tell us about the impact of tight credit?  The map makes it clear that entire communities, particularly those with high levels of African-American and Hispanic residents,  were hit hard by the bust. In many cases, these same communities are also deeply affected by today’s tight credit market. In 2001, about 20 percent of new purchase mortgages were made to borrowers with a FICO (credit) score below 660, but in 2012 and 2013, only 13 and 10 percent of new borrowers were in this category, respectively.
  6. What does the map show us about the economic recovery? The map makes it clear just how uneven the housing recovery has been throughout the country.  We hear one national story, but every community has its own experience. For example, in San Francisco and San Jose, 194,000 mortgages were made in 2012, just 18 percent below 2005 levels. Meanwhile, only 137,000 loans were made in Detroit in 2012, 39 percent below 2005 levels.
  7. Will you be updating this map every year? Yes, we’ll update this map annually when new HMDA data are released.
  8. What specific local data can you provide? The feature allows users to download the specific origination numbers for hundreds of metropolitan areas for the entire 12-year period. If you don’t see numbers on the cities you need, contact us for help.
  9. Why does your analysis stop in December 2012? These are the most recent available data. HMDA data are an annual set with a one-year lag. We expect that the newest data, which we will cover 2013, will be released in late September, and added to our map shortly thereafter.
  10. What do you expect to see in the new HMDA numbers? From other data available to date, we don’t expect to see a big national change in the gap between white borrowers and African-American and Hispanic borrowers.  We know credit is still tight and that that tightness has been particularly hard on these same minority communities. But this map will allow everyone to quickly see how their community fared in the most recent year, once the newest data are released.
Research Areas Race and equity Housing finance Housing
Tags Federal housing programs and policies Racial and ethnic disparities Housing and the economy Housing finance reform Homeownership Racial barriers to housing Racial homeownership gap
Policy Centers Housing Finance Policy Center