Tracking Mortgage Delinquency Against Non-traditional Economic Indicators by MSA
Traditional economic indicators lack the timeliness and regional granularity necessary to track the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on communities across the country. Unemployment reports published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for example, tend to have latency issues and don’t cover all workers. As regional economies attempt to get back to a new “normal” RiskSpan has begun compiling non-traditional “alternative” data that can provide a more granular and real-time view of issues and trends. In past crises, traditional macro indicators such as home price indices and unemployment rates were sufficient to explain the trajectory of consumer credit. However, in the current crisis, mortgage delinquencies are deteriorating more rapidly with significant regional dispersion. Serious mortgage delinquencies in the New York metro region were around 1.1% by April 2009 vs 30 day delinquencies at 9.9% of UPB in April 2020.
STACR loan–level data shows that nationwide 30–day delinquencies increased from 0.8% to 4.2% nationwide. In this chart we track the performance and state of employment of 5 large metros (MSA).
Indicators included in our Chart of the Month:
Change in unemployment is the BLS measure computed from unemployment claims. Traditionally this indicator has been used to measure economic health of a region. BLS reporting typically lags by months and weeks.
Air quality index is a measure we calculate using level PM2.5 reported by EPA’s AirNow database on a daily basis. This metric is a proxy of increased vehicular traffic in different regions. Using a nationwide network of monitoring sites, EPA has developed ambient air quality trends for particle pollution, also called Particulate Matter (PM). We compute the index as daily level of PM2.5 vs the average of the last 5 years. For regions that are still under a shutdown air quality index should be less than 100 (e.g. New York at 75% vs Houston at 105%)
Air pollution from traffic has increased in regions where businesses have opened in May ’20 (e.g. LA went up from 69% in April to 98% in May). However, consumer spending has not always increased at the same level. We look to proxies for hourly employment levels.
New Daily COVID-19 Cases: This is a health crisis and managing the rate of new COVID-19 cases will drive decisions to open or close businesses. The chart reports the monthly peak in new cases using daily data from Opportunity Insight
Hourly Employment and Hours Worked at small businesses is provided by Opportunity Insight using data from Homebase. Homebase is a company that provides virtual scheduling and time-tracking tools, focused on small businesses in sectors such as retail, restaurant, and leisure/accommodation. The chart shows change in level of hourly employment as compared to January 2020. We expect this is to be a leading indicator of employment levels for this sector of consumers.
Sources of data:
Freddie Mac’s (STACR) transaction database
Opportunity Insight’s Recovery Tracker
Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS)’ MSA level economic reports
Environment Protection Agency (EPA)’s AirNow database.