Mortgage Credit Availability Increases Slightly in March
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Higher Index=More Credit Available
Lower Index=Less Credit Available
Mortgage credit availability increased slightly in March, according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), which analyzes data from the AllRegs® Market Clarity® product.
"Consistent with past months, many lenders and investors are providing borrowers seeking higher loan amounts with a broader range of financing options by introducing new jumbo loan programs. Over the month, some lenders made a complete exit from wholesale lending operations, while other lenders moved to enter that space or expanded operations," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA's Chief Economist.
The trend of increased availability for jumbo loan programs is consistent with behavior MBA has been monitoring in its Weekly Applications Survey, which shows growth in purchase volume for applications with higher loan amounts and contraction in home purchase application volume for lower-balance loans. Similar trends have been noted in the National Association of Realtors' existing home sales data as well. Lenders are likely moving to create a broader range of jumbo products in order to capture the increasing demand for such financing in the market.
The MCAI increased 0.44 percent from 113.5 in February to 114.0 in March. A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of a loosening of credit. The index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012. If the MCAI had been tracked in 2007, it would have been at a level of roughly 800, indicating the credit was much more available at that time.
MBA has partnered with AllRegs® to produce monthly MCAI, which feeds current mortgage underwriting parameters into a single index number to capture whether overall mortgage credit is more or less available from month to month.
The MCAI provides the only standardized quantitative index that is solely focused on mortgage credit.
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