J.R Morgan & Co. has unveiled a new series of indexes that will track mortgage applications nationwide in more than 40 ways.
The new indexes, called the "J.R Morgan Matrix" and to be issued for the first time this morning, will track the ebb and flow of mortgage applications through direct data feeds from leading mortgage originators.
Investors in mortgage-backed securities watch application volume closely as a measure of the likelihood of near-term prepayment of loans. Likewise, mortgage lenders and bankers are keenly interested in such numbers as a means of tracking market trends.
Up till now, the main source of information about mortgage applications has been a weekly update put out by the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. The MBA provides a basic index as well as one for purchase loan applications and refinance loan applications.
Beginning at 8 this morning, Morgan will release figures tracking refinance application activity in the conventional, Ginnie Mae, and whole-loan market - each in at least half a dozen segments.
The same information will be available for the purchase loan market.
The two primary indexes, of refinancing and purchase applications, will mirror the MBA's survey.
But underlying those two numbers will be 44 sub-indexes. This will allow an investor in 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate collateralized mortgage obligations to get a read on how prepayment speeds in that particular segment may develop.
For instance, in the conventional market, investors and lenders will see the following indexes: market aggregate, fixed-rate aggregate, 30-year fixed, 15-year fixed, 5/7-year fixed, adjustable aggregate, 6-month ARM, and 1-year adjustable.
"This is a new way to gauge the market's temperature," said Jean-Louis Bravard, head of fixed-income research at J.P. Morgan Securities. "This is the first time such complete information will be available on the mortgage market."
In addition, the information will be delivered unadjusted - leaving analysts and market participants the option of placing the data in their own seasonal context.
Here's how the information is gathered:
* Morgan has installed computers in the offices of "a few dozen" mortgage originators around the country. These firms account for about half of all originations, according to Morgan.
* Application data will be transferred to Morgan via a direct feed administered by AT&T EasyLink Services.
* Morgan will process the raw data into the indexes and release the results every Wednesday morning.
Originators have an incentive "to cooperate ... because they will be able to use the data to help measure their own performance" against that of competitors, said Mr. Bravard.
Morgan also plans to roll out in early 1995 a weekly nationwide mortgage rate survey that will be equally multifaceted.
The rate survey, compiled from the same group of mortgage originators, will provide 31 indexes across the conventional, Ginnie Mae, and whole-loan markets.