Housing and Mortgage Lending Data

Background

Foreclosure records are typically a matter of public record, but are scattered in county courthouses across the country. Repackaging this public information for easy access has become a profitable business model for some private companies but the general lack of public access to comprehensive foreclosure statistics has hindered efforts to fight the housing crisis. To the extent that the true need of communities in distress is inaccurately estimates, public funds will be inefficiently allocated.

North Carolina is unique in that its Administrative Office of the Courts provides monthly tabulations of foreclosure filings by county. There are also variety of other housing and mortgage related data publicly-available, but contained in large databases too unwieldy for many to use. For example, detailed data of mortgage originations is available through the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975. The Act was intended to provide public loan data to help determine whether financial institutions are serving the housing needs of their communities, to allow public officials to distribute public sector investments where it is needed, and to identify possible discriminatory lending patterns. Unfortunately, given that there are millions of mortgage applications each year in the country, the database is unmanageable for many of the consumer advocates and public officials it is meant to assist. The data can be used to calculate the share of mortgage applications that were denied by lenders and the share of originations that were higher-priced—a proxy for subprime loans. This website is meant to provide access to these figures and more as they relate to the counties and metropolitan areas in North Carolina.

A similar site, the State of North Carolina Cities, was created by the Center for Urban and Regional Studies to measure the well-being of forty-four North Carolina cities and towns using data from the American Community Survey.