Profile picture for rzach8

Interest Rate Trends on Zillow

Are the mortgage rates compiled by Zillow and presented in the interest rate trends charts inclusive of points and fees?  For example, it shows the national rate at 3.34% right now.  Is that an APR or just the stated rate?
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April 08 2013 - US
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Profile picture for Pasadenan
It is the "average quote" on ZMM for 30 yr fixed, 680+ FICO. <80% loan to value ratio, $200k to $416k loan amounts.  The number you see are for an average of one hour, updated on the hour (posted about 4 minutes after the hour).  It does not take into account the difference of fees in the quotes.

For more info on the subject, see the thread:
Rates on the Move Again.

Zillow does have charts if you click on the "mortgage rates" link at the top of the page, and then click on "interactive chart" in the right margin.  But I find it easier to download the data that generates the chart, and then make my own.
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April 09 2013
Profile picture for rzach8
Thanks for the reply.  So what if all lenders quote a contractual interest rate of 3.35% but require a point upfront so that it's more or less equivalent to the borrower buying down the rate from 3.475%?  Without the inclusion of points and fees (i.e., showing an APR as opposed to the contractual interest rate) the data really doesn't tell us much, because I can manipulate the contractual interest rate just by paying more upfront.

Also, how do you download the data yourself?
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April 10 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
1) That is why the volume of quotes is relevant... enough volume, you get a distribution fairly close to a "normal distribution" (bell shaped curve...), there is no "all" of anything.  1am on Sunday Morning when markets are closed is not going to be a reliable number, especially if you chose a small "region" instead of the U.S.  As each of the robo-quoters is independent, none of them are quoting "the same thing".  As far as I can tell, Zillow's ZMM statistics are one of the best tracking tools for interest rates available to those that don't actually get the rate sheets direct from the lending sources.  They only lag the rate sheets by about 3 hours.  Yes, it would be nice if Zillow would provide similar statistics on the fees, but they don't.  But they do track them, and contacting their research department, you can get aggregate fee data.

2)
http://www.zillow.com/mortgage/RateExplorerData.htm?loty=1&ch=3&lotv=1&rid=9&ts=1&sloty=2
"loan type"
loty=1 --> 30 yr
loty=2 --> 15 yr
loty=3 --> 5/1 ARM

"credit range"
ch=3 --> 720-850 FICO
ch=4 --> 680-719 FICO
ch=5 --> 350-679 FICO

"loan to value"
lotv=1 --> 20% + down
lotv=3 --> 5% to 20% down
lotv=4 --> <5% down

"time span"
ts=1  --> 1 day
ts=2  --> 1 week
ts=3  --> 1 month
ts=4  --> 3 months
ts=5  --> 1 year
ts=6  --> 2 years

1 day span ---> hourly average
1 week span --> 1/4 day average
1 month span --> daily average
quarter year span --> 2-day average
1 year span --> 1-week average
2 year span --> 2-week average

Date is in UNIX time; seconds since begining of 1970.

RID:
9: California
102001: US
3 Alaska
4 Alabama
14 Florida
(I won't bother listing them all...)

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April 10 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
A bit more information on what to do after using the web address with parameters as given:

You will need to save the file, and then change the },{ to "enter"s.  You can do it with some word processors.  Notepad will let you do it if you do the search for },{ and press "escape", and then "enter" F3, repeating "enter" F3 until all are done.

You can then input as coma delimited text into excel.

The date is in UNIX second time.  Thus, divide by 3600, divide by 24, then add 12/31/1969 5:00 pm.  (different hour for desired time zone).
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April 10 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
By the way, if you use a local RID AND you use a SLOTY (secondary loan type), the RID is ignored, and you get all of the U.S.  Thus the RID=9 in the address given is not for California, but all of the U.S.  As you saw from the web page referenced earlier, I'm plotting the 15 yr fixed with a shift of scale on top of the 30 yr fixed in order to see how economic and political data moves the rates together, and what affects the gap between the rates of these different loan products.

And since there are lots of JPG charts on that discussion thread, you could just save the image rather than making your own.  But then you couldn't do other math with the numbers easily.
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April 10 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
Sorry, two more corrections....

1) The numbers posted on the site are for 740+ FICO... not 680+ (680+ is the middle range).

2) The ranges for FICO score changed sometime since I wrote my reference "cheat sheet" on the subject...
"credit range"
ch=3 --> 740-850 FICO
ch=4 --> 680-739 FICO
ch=5 --> 350-679 FICO
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April 10 2013
Profile picture for rzach8
Thanks so much for your all-encompassing and thoughtful response!  I guess the question I'm posing is -- do you think the average Zillow rates reflect the all-in rate where a borrower can actually get a mortgage? I just find it strange that the rates are consistently so much lower than the overnight average compiled by Bankrate or the weekly surveys done by Freddie Mac.
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April 10 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
The "average" is the "average" quoted for the specific given conditions.  The average would be a lot higher if it was for a higher loan to value ratio, or a jumbo loan, or a very small loan, or a lower FICO score range.

The "average" implies "average fees", which run about $1k.  And no one gets the "average" quoted to them, as the quoted rates tend to be rounded to the nearest 1/8%.  And the difference between the average and the nearest 1/8% is either used to provide credit towards the fees, or it requires additional fees to get the next better rate.

The hourly averages track the rates exceptionally closely and is much better than using rate sheets as it includes the lender and loan officer mark-ups.  It is not a "wholesale rate".  And even when including fees, there are fees (recording fee, appraisal fee..) that are not included.

Since ZMM quotes are "free" and you remain anonymous, you can ask for as may quotes as you want as often as you like.  But if you just want to know what the economy and politics are doing to the rates, the average quote data on ZMM provides what you need.  And if the conditions are not right for your specifics, change the parameters to get the other aggregate data that Zillow provides.

I don't bother to look up the wide variety of other options, as in most cases they will be fairly proportional, and with an offset shift.   But the data available on the site changes everyday, thus I try to download the hourly averages (and quote volume) fairly consistently each night at the same time.  And if I miss a day?  I use the one month time span to get the "average" for the day that was missed.

I haven't checked what Bankrate is averaging, nor what is included on the surveys done by Freddie Mac, thus I don't know how they compare, but I very much doubt that they are for the same parameter range.  I do know that Freddie Mac's numbers are "useless" as they are completely "out of date".  You can't base a lock on such "old" and "obsolete" data.
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April 10 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
as may quotes ---> as *many* quotes

By the way... I show 1/16% increments on my charts to help know how the quoted rates will be rounded, and thus how it will affect the fees.
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April 10 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
I should also point out, that since the ZMM average given is for <80% loan to value ratio, there is no "mortgage insurance" required.  If you select a different loan to value ratio range, mortgage insurance would be required, which substantially affects the APR and fees.
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April 10 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
Just in case you didn't look at that other thread referenced... for yesterday, 3.366% average ZMM 30 yr fixed quote for 740+ FICO, $200k to $416k loan range, <=80% loan to value ratio:



full sized image:
http://photos1.zillow.com/o_a/IS-14j4qubu5ivkt.jpg



full sized image:
http://photos1.zillow.com/o_a/IS-tjka7fvowspp.jpg



full sized image:
http://photos3.zillow.com/o_a/IS-14j4pm5j8qnh9.jpg
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April 10 2013
Profile picture for rzach8
Thanks, I fully understand what you've said.  However, by setting the parameters to U.S., 30 year fixed, highest FICO range and 20%+ down you are, in effect, approximating the conventional mortgage loans purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  While it's true that looking at the Bankrate overnight average or Freddie Mac survey isn't useful in telling you where to lock a loan today, the Zillow data has to somewhat reconcile with what the GSEs were actually paying for loans during the same time period.  To consistently have a 20-30 bps deviation just seems odd to me.  Looking at the Fannie Mae Commitment Rate also paints a similar picture.  This morning Fannie Mae was willing to commit to purchase mortgage loan with a yield of 3.087% at par in 60 days.  Using the Zillow data with the parameters I listed above would imply a spread to the lender of only 31 bps, 25 bps of which is the servicing strip (obviously these figures need to be multiplied by the expected duration of the loan).  That spread is below the level at which most small lenders can profitably originate and inconsistent with the 40-60 bps that is typical and implied by pretty much every other non-Zillow source (Bankrate, Freddie Mac, BanxQuote, Inside Mortgage Finance).  It seems like the basic quote data on Zillow therefore may not be consistent with the rates at which borrowers are actually closing their loans (which I surmise is 20-30 bps higher).
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April 10 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
"That spread is below the level at which most small lenders can profitably originate and inconsistent with the 40-60 bps that is typical and implied by pretty much every other non-Zillow source (Bankrate, Freddie Mac, BanxQuote, Inside Mortgage Finance).  It seems like the basic quote data on Zillow therefore may not be consistent with the rates at which borrowers are actually closing their loans (which I surmise is 20-30 bps higher)." -

No, that is absolutely "impossible"... REG-Z and RESPA don't let them cherry-pick "favorites"; their mark-ups are the same across the board whether they are quoting on Zillow, or find their customers elsewhere.

Yes, the loan officer's overhead on Zillow is substantially lower than getting their customers elsewhere, but they can't discount for that.  They have to use the same mark-ups for each of their lending sources regardless.

Besides, if they were closing higher than they quoted, they would:
1) be kicked off of Zillow as a "confirmed lender"
and
2) be out of business for unethical practices
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April 10 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
I was about to post a chart, but realize I need to make a correction... will post again in a few minutes...
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April 10 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
Just for comparison, I downloaded the past month's data for <640 FICO, >95% loan to value ratio (but I believe still X1-IA-tm1hyqmig31r_cu4za00k to http://photos3.zillow.com/o_a/IS-tm1hyqmjunh9.jpg16k loan range... (average larger non-jumbo loans; Zillow doesn't have the option to get the data for the smaller loans other than individual quotes).  2.739% average for the 15 yr fixed; 3.920% average for the 30 yr fixed:



full sized image:
http://photos3.zillow.com/o_a/IS-tm1hyqmjunh9.jpg

(And you need to remember, that for the "better customers"... their mortgages are being packaged and sold as 3.0 mortgage backed securities, not 3.5 MBS.)
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April 10 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
Zillow garbled my post again...  frustrating!

(but I believe still X1-IA-tm1hyqmig31r_cu4za00k to http://photos3.zillow.com/o_a/IS-tm1hyqmjunh9.jpg16k loan range

should read:
(but I believe still $200k to $416k loan range...


By the way, the "small lenders" don't choose to be "robo quoters" (confirmed lenders) on Zillow, as Robo-quoting is a very cut-throat business.
Instead, they choose to participate in the discussion forums, and have people find them through their profile, where they can get customized private quotes, not part of the ZMM robo-quote system.
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April 10 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
I'm re-posting that chart, but with an adjusted offset for the 15 yr; reducing the offset by 1/16%, thus a 19/16% offset...



full sized image:
http://photos1.zillow.com/o_a/IS-14gm1xkwa9eu5.jpg
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April 10 2013
Profile picture for rzach8
Thanks, I like our dialogue here.  But I feel like we may be mixing metaphors a bit.  First, I wasn't contending that lenders were cherry picking.  I was merely saying that the quotes being provided aren't GFEs and then surmising that once a borrower provides more detail the final rate may be higher.  Second, you posted a chart with the following text above it:

"Just for comparison, I downloaded the past month's data for <640 FICO, >95% loan to value ratio 2.739% average for the 15 yr fixed; 3.920% average for the 30 yr fixed"

But that criteria has now taken you so far out of the conventional mortgage realm and into purely FHA/VA.  The average 30 year fixed rate GSE loan has a FICO closer to 750 and an LTV of ~75%.  My question is why, when setting the criteria on Zillow to these kinds of parameters do I get quotes that appear 20-30 bps lower than every other rate I see.

I don't believe the comment about what coupon MBS the loans are sold into is relevant because I was quoting the Fannie Mae Commitment Rate, which is a loan sale at the cash window.
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April 10 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
"My question is why, when setting the criteria on Zillow to these kinds of parameters do I get quotes that appear 20-30 bps lower than every other rate I see." -

I don't know the answer to that, but there can only be a few possibilities:
1) The statistics you are seeing for other sources are for a wider range of loan qualifications.  Possibly a wider range of loan amounts.
2) Those that do "robo-quoting" have more competitive markups.
3) The fees are higher on average on Zillow
4) You are looking at the averages for a different time period
5) The robo-quoters on Zillow are using a much broader range of funding sources.
6) Zillow's math is "wrong"?
7) ???

From the bankrate.com website:

"Bankrate's site displays two sets of rates that are produced from two surveys we conduct: one daily and the other weekly. They're both useful, but they're samples of different groups and they serve different purposes.

You will see daily rate averages on the site in boxes labeled "overnight averages" (these calculations are run after the close of the business day).

Included there are rates we have collected on the previous day for a specific banking product. Overnight averages tend to be volatile. They help consumers see the movement of rates day to day. The institutions included in the "overnight averages" tables will be different from one day to the next, depending on which institutions' rates we gather on a particular day for presentation on the site.

The "National Index," or "national survey of large lenders," is conducted weekly. The results of this survey are quoted in our weekly articles, the Interest Rate Roundup and our Mortgage Analysis. To conduct the National Index survey, Bankrate obtains rate information from the 10 largest banks and thrifts in 10 large U.S. markets.
"

To me, this indicates two things:
1) They are not getting a full cross section of the lending sources available.
2) They are including a lot of loans outside the >740 FICO, <80% LTV, $200k to $416k loan amounts range.  You include even a little of the quotes outside those parameters, and it going to quickly increase the quoted interest rate averages.  They state NOTHING in their summary of their methods about limiting the criterion to those specific qualifications.

In other words, you are just not comparing the same things.

When Zillow is getting robo-quote data from an average of about 100,000 individual robo-quotes per day within the specific loan criterion range, the data is likely reasonably reliable for the specific stated criterion.

Perhaps you would be better off asking bankrate.com why their statistics are higher?  But as they don't state their criterion nor methodology, perhaps it is already self evident?

(By the way, Zillow used to state they used the median instead of the average, but they clearly state "average" now, and since it closely follows a normal distribution, the average and median are about the same anyway).
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April 10 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
Another thought....

All the robo-quoters on Zillow are "choosing" from the lowest rate sheets they have at the time they quote...  Most have access to numerous rate sheets, and they are updated multiple times per day.

Bankrate.com on the other hand, is using averages of what they display on their website, which tends to be "advertised rates" of large companies that choose to advertise.  Thus you are not getting the most competitive rates available from them most of the time.

This could easily account for a difference of 20 to 30 basis points.
But I still don't see anything on bankrate.com that states they are excluding smaller loan amounts nor excluding lower FICO scores, nor excluding large LTV's.

If you know where to find more specifics on their methodology, I would like to know.
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April 10 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
Two more thoughts:

1) Mortgage brokers that do large volumes with specific lenders and close a very high percentage of the loans they write often get very good "wholesale" rates from those lenders, that those specific lenders cannot match when writing the loans in house.  Over 50% of the loan officers on Zillow are mortgage brokers, not mortgage bankers.

2) Zillow's averages are the average of the "robo quotes" that fit the criterion in the given time frame.  Not averages of given lenders... thus given loan officer's are weighted differently based on "quote volume".    This type of "weighted average" would come up with a different result than weighting each lending source on the website equally.
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April 10 2013
Profile picture for rzach8
I don't think the other sources I'm comparing are very different than the prime criteria I set at Zillow.  We know the characteristics of the loans Fannie Mae is buying each quarter and what the note rates and APRs are.  BanxQuote, Ellie Mae's Origination Insight Report (which captures over 20% of all U.S. origination volume), Freddie Mac, Inside Mortgage Finance, Mortgage News Daily, the MBAA, etc. all corroborate similar rates for conventional GSE loans with 20% down and super-prime FICOs.  Zillow is the outlier, not these other sources.  I guess it's just something I won't be able to reconcile, but I will continue investigating.

Mortgage News Daily: http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/mortgage_rates/

Ellie Mae: http://www.elliemae.com/ellie-mae-releases-february-2013-origination-insight-report/press-releases/

BanxQuote: http://www.banxquote.com

Freddie Mac: http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/

MBAA: http://www.mortgagebankers.org/NewsandMedia/PressCenter/84167.htm
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April 11 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
None of those other sources are giving you hourly averages of "real quotes" to "real people" from "real loan officers"..  Nor are they filtering what they are averaging by the specific criterion mentioned.

Use one week old data if you want....  use averages from selected "advertisers" if you want...  they don't track the market as closely as a source that averages an average of 3500 individual independent quotes per hour.

Yes, some of the loan officers state they can't match some of the rates quoted on Zillow, and sometimes wonder if fees are missing, or some kind of bait and switch is occurring...  But there are also about equal number of quotes that are "out of the ballpark" on the high end.  And Zillow does crack down on loan officers pretty quickly that don't follow the quoting rules (when it is reported and Zillow investigates).

And yes, some of the "Jumbo Loan" rate borrowers wonder why they can't get quoted the "averages" on the charts... but Zillow is quite clear that they are excluding the Jumbo range from those averages, even though Fannie and Freddie buy loans in those ranges for higher cost metropolitan statistical areas.  And yes, we all know that Fannie and Freddie allow loans and buy loans that have only 3.5% down, so of course the numbers are going to be different than for loans that require a minimum of 20% down.

Although they may be reasonably proportional, and there may be a reasonable offset between them, there is no direct method of converting from one to another.

I had graphed the Zillow numbers on a Chart of the Fannie Mae Numbers about 2 years ago, covering a time span of about 6 months, especially the "record low" from a couple years ago...  but that got lost during a computer crash.  I had also posted that chart on Zillow, but had used an unconventional posting method, and Zillow wrote and ran an image "garbage collection" routine, and the image was deleted from the site, so I ended up losing all copies.  (Not to mention, one thread I had posted on, a loan officer started, and the loan officer was kicked off the site for one reason or another, and all threads started by that person were deleted when the profile was deleted).  Other than the time shift and a small offset, Fannie numbers and Zillow numbers tracked quite well.
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April 11 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
And I will state it again, just in case it was missed when I stated it before...

1) Don't rely on ZIllow's averages when the markets are "closed" (such as weekends and holidays...); the quotes quickly drift away from the market when the market is not open to keep the market rates anchored.

2) Don't rely on the Zillow averages when there are relatively few quotes, such as 1 am to 4 am Pacific Time... there are insufficient quote requests during those "off times" to get a true cross section of request types, and thus the averages will fluctuate substantially and be statistically unreliable.
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April 11 2013
 
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Neighborhoods not in files?
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Latest reply by user5584683
November 25 2013 | 1 answers
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