MiMi Frequently Asked Questions
- What solution does MiMi offer?
- What does MiMi measure?
- Why MiMi, and why now?
- What data is used to create the index?
- How often will Freddie Mac update MiMi?
- What does MiMi provide that’s better or different than other indexes?
- What are the benchmark dates for MiMi’s four indicators?
- What does the composite MiMi value mean?
- What does In Range mean?
- What does "weak" or "elevated" mean?
- How is a MiMi metro market defined?
- Does MiMi track cash-only and jumbo home sales information?
- Was MiMi developed for the purpose of forecasting?
- How does MiMi account for revisions?
- What has been changed since the first release of MiMi?
Recognizing that housing activity differs across the country, the Freddie Mac Multi-Indicator Market IndexSM (MiMiSM) blends multiple economic and housing indicators to provide a unique picture of local housing market activity for professionals who care about real estate and follow the housing industry.
Every housing market has a sweet spot – where the fundamentals for a stable housing market are in balance. MiMi refers to this as “In Range.” MiMi shows at a glance where the single-family housing market is today compared to its In Range balance and its recent past. MiMi also indicates where a market is trending and why it is either moving closer to or further away from In Range.
The housing crisis and uneven recovery across the nation emphasized that housing activity differs from market to market. To better understand these differences, each month MiMi tracks and measures the stability of local housing activity by combining local industry market data with Freddie Mac data. MiMi provides a fresh perspective on current local market activity for real estate experts, analysts, economists, reporters and others in the housing industry.
The index draws from multiple data sources, including our daily business with more than 2,000 mortgage lenders across the country. The index also incorporates the most recent local market data for each market and is benchmarked to its own individual long-term average.
MiMi is released at 10 a.m. EDT monthly. View the MiMi release calendar.
MiMi merges four economic indicators with proprietary data from Freddie Mac to create a composite index value for each market covered. Instead of just the latest data, the merged indicators and composite index value provide data with context that is relevant to each of the markets that MiMi tracks. Moreover, the purchase application data is unique to Freddie Mac providing insights into purchase market trends, especially at the local level.
Each market is benchmarked against its long-term normal activity. The benchmark date for Purchase Applications is 1997-2004; Current on Mortgage that is mortgages that are not 90+ days delinquent or in foreclosure is 1999 - 2004; Employment is 1990-2004; and Payment-to-Income is benchmarked to December 1999.
We construct a weighted average for each indicator that makes up the composite MiMi value. This composite statistic is our measure that summarizes the overall state of the local housing market relative to the benchmark periods. An elevated or weak value for a single indicator alone does not necessarily mean that the local economy and housing market are weak or elevated. We need to look at a broad set of indicators moving in the same direction before we can make that characterization. Using a weighted average of the indicators, we can construct a composite picture of the local market. Each indicator is weighted by its historical variation around the benchmark level. For instance, the payment-to-income ratio, driven by volatile prices and interest rates, has a historical variation about seven times as large as the historical variation in unemployment and delinquency rates.
After we average the weighted indicators to construct our composite MiMi value, we end up with a single number summarizing the state of the housing market. A score of 100 would mean that the indicators are on average at their benchmark levels (unemployment and delinquencies at their historical levels, single-family home purchase applications are consistent with historical averages, and mortgage payments increasing one-for-one along with income since December 1999). A MiMi value below 100 would mean that one or more indicators are weaker than historical averages (unemployment rate and delinquency rate above their historical levels benchmarks, payment-to-income and applications below historical averages benchmark). Because the indicators have statistical noise, we require the MiMi value to be below 80 before we say the value indicates a weak market. Conversely, we rate a market as Elevated only when its MiMi score is above 120.
More positive MiMi values indicate a more elevated local economy and housing market, while more negative values indicate a weaker local economy and housing market. In theory the MiMi score is unbounded, but in our historical sample it typically lies between 0 and 200.
What does In Range mean?Each of the four MiMi indicators acts as a weight on a scale and, as each indicator moves, the balance of the housing market shifts. When the indicators are in balance and In Range, the market is considered stable and activity is consistent with that market’s long-term normal activity.
What does "weak" or "elevated" mean?Over time we would expect house prices to rise in line with income, home purchase activity to rise with a growing population, and the unemployment and delinquency rates to stabilize. When those indicators move far from historical values, the markets are either weak or elevated.
How is a MiMi metro market defined?MiMi uses the Core Based Statistical Area for its metro locations. This is the U.S. geographic area defined by the Office of Management and Budget based around an urban center of at least 10,000 people and adjacent areas that are socioeconomically tied to the urban center by commuting.
Does MiMi track cash-only and jumbo home sales information?MiMi does not factor in cash-only sales or jumbo home sales that fall outside of Freddie Mac’s conforming loan limits and permitted loan limits in high cost areas.
Was MiMi developed for the purpose of forecasting?No. MiMi was not developed for the purpose of forecasting.
How does MiMi account for revisions?Each month, we release MiMi using the most recent data available and will revise previous months to reflect revisions in the indicators. Over time we may need to revise our benchmark levels and reweight the four indicators. Our home purchase applications indicator is calibrated using the annual HMDA data, so after the release of the HMDA data each Fall we may experience potentially large revisions to the home purchase application indicator.
What has been changed since the first release of MiMi?The August release of MiMI includes an rescaled index making the data more transparent and easier for housing professionals and analysts to follow. The rankings of states and metropolitan areas are unchanged. The underlying data and basic methodology are also unchanged. It also makes it easier to identify the most improving state and metro markets on a monthly basis from the National view. Based on feedback we’ll continue to make enhancements to MiMi.