Detecting Mortgage Delinquencies

16 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2011

See all articles by Nikos Askitas

Nikos Askitas

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Klaus F. Zimmermann

Global Labor Organization (GLO); UNU-MERIT; Maastricht University, Department of Economics; Free University Berlin; University of Bonn; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Journal of Population Economics

Abstract

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.

Keywords: housing, hardship letter, loan delinquency, mortgage, National Delinquency Survey (NDS), financial crisis, recession, bubble, Google Insights

JEL Classification: C81, E65, G21, R31

Suggested Citation

Askitas, Nikos and Zimmermann, Klaus F., Detecting Mortgage Delinquencies. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5895, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1906198

Nikos Askitas (Contact Author)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/home/askitas

Klaus F. Zimmermann

Global Labor Organization (GLO) ( email )

Bonn
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://https://glabor.org/

UNU-MERIT ( email )

Keizer Karelplein 19
Maastricht, 6211TC
Netherlands

Maastricht University, Department of Economics ( email )

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Maastricht, 6200MD
Netherlands

University of Bonn

Postfach 2220
Bonn, D-53012
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Journal of Population Economics

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D-69121 Heidelberg
Germany

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