Online data-mapping tool PolicyMap has updated its database to include the latest information on mortgage loan originations, residential and commercial vacancies, unemployment and fair market rents.

PolicyMap is a Web site created by a Philadelphia-based nonprofit, The Reinvestment Fund, to share with the public data it gathers and analyzes on behalf of government agencies and other nonprofits, including statistics on home sales, lending practices and demographics (see story).

Registered users can access most of PolicyMap’s datasets — anything that The Reinvestment Fund does not have to pay for in order to license — at no charge.

Paid subscribers also get access to licensed datasets, such as block-level home sales data and more tools to generate custom reports and query the PolicyMap database.

Datasets that are accessible free to registered users include mortgage origination data that lenders provide to federal banking regulators under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA).

HMDA data shows the number of mortgage loans made at the state, county and census tract level, plus median loan amount, percentage of loans by type, purpose, insurance status, and race and ethnicity of borrowers.

PolicyMap users can map the HMDA dataset to see the prevalence of FHA, piggyback and "high-cost" (subprime) lending at the census tract level. …CONTINUED

The Reinvestment Fund also crunches the numbers in its datasets to tease out other patterns and trends, making those analyses available to users.

A "Loan to Income Leverage Ratio 2008" analysis, for example, shows the ratio of the original loan amount to the applicant’s stated income for all mortgage loans reported in HMDA for 2008.

The analysis can help users understand where new homebuyers may have taken on more mortgage debt than they can afford.

PolicyMap will also map foreclosure risk scores and predicted 18-month foreclosure rates at the census tract and block group level, using data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

The HUD dataset also shows the HMDA percentage of high-cost loans, foreclosure starts, vacant addresses, high-cost and high-leverage mortgages, price change and unemployment rate.

PolicyMap has recently updated its dataset to include county-level unemployment rates for September and preliminary numbers for October from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Other recent updates include residential and commercial vacancy data from the U.S. Postal Service for the third quarter of 2009, and HUD’s fair market rents for 2010.


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