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Updated data on home mortgage applications now available from NICAR

The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) database has just been updated in the NICAR Data Library. Loan application records for 2013 are now available. 

What's in it?

This Act requires all banks, savings and loans, savings banks and credit unions with assets of more than $33 million and offices in metropolitan areas to report mortgage applications. Each loan record contains demographic information about loan applicants, including race, gender and income; the purpose of the loan (i.e. home purchase or improvement); whether the buyer intends to live in the home; the type of loan (i.e. conventional, FHA insured, etc.); a new field starting in 2004 called "spread," showing the difference between Treasury security interest rate and the loans interest rate; and the outcome of the loan application (i.e. approved or declined).

What format does it come in?

The most recent year of HMDA data comes in CSV format, easily imported into database managers; the files are too big for Excel. If you'd like something different, contact us and we'll do our best to help you out. Email or call (573) 884-7711.

State slices are available.

What can I do with it?

First, check out the documentation -- Readme.txt -- and a sample of the data -- HMDA.xls.

Second, peruse IRE's tipsheets on working with HMDA data. Here are a few we've picked out:

  • Burrowing into HMDA: A run down on what you need to have to do HMDA data based stories and what pitfalls to watch out for in said data. 
  • Working with new race/ethnicity categories: Discusses how to use HMDA data to analyze lending variations by race and ethnicity, as well as the recent changes in race/ethnicity reporting requirements and how to best analyze the data.

Also, see what others have done before by browsing our story library. Here are a few highlights:

Broken Dreams

This story utilized HMDA data, foreclosure reports and experts to explain how a wave of unstable mortgage loans were causing increasing numbers of uninformed borrowers to lose their homes. The investigation illustrated the problems faced by many people who, being unfamiliar with buying a home, ended up accepting very harsh terms on their loans and mortgages. Experts predict that this situation will lead to a rise in foreclosures in the area.

The Hard Truth In Lending

This three-day series looked at many facets of home lending. The reporters used mortgage loan data from 25 top lenders to show that blacks who bought homes in communities across America in 2004 were four times as likely as whites to get high interest rates for mortgage loans. The interest rate disparities occurred even when blacks had substantially higher incomes.


To order the full data, visit the online store at or contact the library at or (573) 884-7711.

Call or email with questions, or to tell us how you've used HMDA for stories.

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