Monday, July 27, 2009

Tracking Mortgage Applications with Search

Weekly data releases tend to have a little bit less pull in markets than monthly releases, but they can still have a strong impact. One of the strongest weekly indicators that we see released each Wednesday is the Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Applications Indexes.

The data released on Wednesdays comes from the prior week ending Friday. While a 5 day lag may not seem like a long time, we can narrow that number by using the power of search data. Taking a look at queries on Google for “mortgage refi” and “mortgage refinance,” it turns out that these indications of interest correspond very highly to action and applications. Comparing these search indexes with the MBA’s Refinance Index, there is an R2 of 0.8121.

The last release of the Refi Index came in at 2089.7 for the week ending July 17th. Data for the week ending July 24th will be released this Wednesday, July 29th. Looking at search data, there has been an 8.7% decrease in popularity in searches for this week. This should yield a similar movement in the Refi Index.

Assuming that the Refi Index would follow in a similar relativity to search, this week’s index should come in at ~1950.

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