Frank Nothaft, a leading housing expert who served as chief economist for both Irvine-based CoreLogic and for government-sponsored mortgage giant Freddie Mac, died over the weekend, CoreLogic announced in a statement Monday, June 6. He was 66.

The death was “was sudden and unexpected,” the company statement said.

Nothaft, known for his distinctive bow ties, served as CoreLogic’s chief economist since 2015, joining the firm after 25 years at Freddie Mac’s economic analysis unit. He served as an economist for the Federal Reserve’s board of governors from 1983-86, according to his LinkedIn post.

Nothaft was based in Virginia, leading a research team that provided economic analysis, commentary and forecasting in global real estate, insurance and mortgage markets.

Frank Nothaft (Courtesy of CoreLogic)

“He was a prodigious purveyor of data, the go-to expert for trends and forecasting and a trusted colleague and friend to many at CoreLogic and the broader housing industry,” the company statement said. “Dr. Nothaft was a brilliant spokesperson and brand ambassador, often seen and quoted on Bloomberg News, CNBC and the Wall Street Journal.”

The soft-spoken economist was a frequent speaker at Realtor and housing conferences, delivering clear, simple market analyses and home-price outlooks.

“He was the best housing market analyst in the business, able to clearly and concisely convey information that helped our industry understand the current market and make decisions to prepare for the future,” HousingWire quoted Mike Fratantoni, the Mortgage Bankers Association’s chief economist, as saying. “And Frank had an inimitable style, both in terms of his presentations and his ever-present bow tie.”

Nothaft was active in his local community through his volunteer commitments, the CoreLogic statement said. He served on the board of the non-profit Falls Church Housing Corporation, which owns Section 8 housing in northern Virginia. He received the Freddie Mac Community Service Award and was also the recipient of the 2020 HousingWire Vanguard Award.

Nothaft earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and computer science with a minor in economics from New York University in 1976, graduating with honors. He received a doctorate in economics from Columbia University in 1986.

He was a senior lecturer at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies during 2002-03, teaching microeconomics for the graduate-level public policy program, his LinkedIn profile said. From 2010 until 2015, he was a Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies faculty member teaching urban real estate economics to graduate students.

“Most people knew Frank as one of the nation’s premier housing economists,” Robin Wachner, a CoreLogic spokeswoman, said in a statement. “He was also an outstanding leader and one of those extraordinary people who was loved and admired by everyone who was lucky enough to know him.”

CoreLogic’s database includes at least 4.5 billion records covering 99 percent of U.S. properties over the past 50 years. Records cover deeds, mortgages, credit, hazard risks and other relevant property data.

The firm produces three top home-price surveys monthly, including the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index and the CoreLogic Home Price Index, as well as regular reports on foreclosures, cash sales, natural disaster risks and digital mapping.

CoreLogic is a major provider of property information to lenders seeking background during the loan-servicing process and to insurance companies that rely on the firm for data on property values and replacement costs. Clients include Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Wells Fargo Bank.

The firm is no stranger to unexpected loss. In March 2017, company President and Chief Executive Anand Nallathambi of Irvine died unexpectedly at 55 following a brief illness.

“Dr. Nothaft’s absence will be felt profoundly throughout the organization and beyond,” the CoreLogic statement said.

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