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Detecting Mortgage Delinquencies

  • Askitas, Nikos



  • Zimmermann, Klaus F.


    (IZA and University of Bonn)

Economic hardship is strongly reflected by the housing market. It is the concern of much research, but its analysis is often obstructed by insufficient lagged data. This paper evaluates search intensity for "hardship letter" from Google Insights to detect ensuing mortgage delinquencies. Such searches locate documents which assist to write a successful loan modification request. Other relevant searches for "short sale", "REO" (as in Real Estate Owned) or "FHA" (as in Federal Housing Administration) are used to provide a comprehensive view of the housing market. Using data from the great recession and benchmarking them against data from the labor market, the paper demonstrates that internet activity captures socioeconomic phenomena in real time very well, with no interviewer effect at a high frequency. This suggests that the new data base should spur new housing research.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5895.

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Length: 16 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5895
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  1. McLaren, Nick & Shanbhogue, Rachana, 2011. "Using internet search data as economic indicators," Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, Bank of England, vol. 51(2), pages 134-140.
  2. Raven Molloy & Hui Shan, 2011. "The post-foreclosure experience of U.S. households," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-32, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Nikolaos Askitas & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2009. "Google Econometrics and Unemployment Forecasting," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 55(2), pages 107-120.
  4. Sanders, Anthony B. & Van Order, Robert, 2011. "Introduction to the special issue on housing and the credit crunch," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 66-67, June.
  5. Nikos Askitas, 2011. "WEEKLYCLAIMS: Stata module to Get Weekly Initial Jobless Claims from the US Dept. of Labor," Statistical Software Components S457249, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 17 Jun 2012.
  6. Askitas, Nikos & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2011. "Health and Well-Being in the Crisis," IZA Discussion Papers 5601, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Capozza, Dennis R. & Order, Robert Van, 2011. "The great surge in mortgage defaults 2006-2009: The comparative roles of economic conditions, underwriting and moral hazard," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 141-151, June.
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