by Amy Lillard
We know the numbers are important, but how important? And what do they really mean? In a continuing series, we examine major economic reports, answering common questions and pinpointing the true meaning behind the figures.
May 31, 2007 - To get comprehensive and useful indicators of where the home market is headed, several sources must be consulted. Different companies will conduct research that paints part of the picture of the housing market; together, these bits can point to the whole. Two of the most influential series of reports come from Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors.
This lending company publishes a weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS)®. For this report, Freddie Mac surveys lenders on the rates and points for their most popular 30-year fixed-rate, 15-year fixed-rate, 5/1 hybrid amortizing adjustable-rate, and 1-year amortizing adjustable rate mortgage products. The Primary Mortgage Market Survey, according to company officials, “has evolved into the foremost reliable, representative source of regional and national mortgage rate trends and is relied upon by the mortgage industry and the public in gauging market conditions and evaluating mortgage loan options.”
Freddie Mac has crafted this research and weekly report in some form since 1971. Currently, 125 lenders are surveyed each week, with a mix of lender types (thrifts, commercial banks and mortgage lending companies) that reflects the national mix. The survey is collected from Monday through Wednesday and the results are posted on Thursdays. Averages presented are for the nation and the five Freddie Mac regions, and published in the media and used in government agency reports and other industry publications.
Freddie Mac is a stockholder-owned company established by Congress in 1970 to support homeownership and rental housing. Freddie Mac fulfills its mission by purchasing residential mortgages and mortgage-related securities, which it finances primarily by issuing mortgage-related securities and debt instruments in the capital markets.
National Association of Realtors
This association of the nation's realtors compiles and publishes mortgage data in the form of sales and percentages. They look at existing home sales, existing home median prices, the number of new homes that have started the building process, and new home sales.
The NAR was formed nearly 100 years ago to further sales and education of realtors. Today, their efforts focus on advocacy, education, law and policy, research and technology.
In addition to their monthly reports, the NAR also releases data on a quarterly basis:
For an overview of NAR data, visit http://www.realtor.org