Mortgage credit availability increased in July according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) which analyzes data from Ellie Mae’s AllRegs® Market Clarity® business information tool.
The MCAI increased 1.0 percent to 165.3 in July. A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of loosening credit. The index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012. Of the four component indices, the Jumbo and Government MCAIs saw the greatest increase in availability (both up 1.3 percent) over the month followed by the Conventional MCAI (up 0.7 percent), and the Conforming MCAI (up 0.1 percent).
“In the three years since its inception, we have been monitoring the MCAI, always looking for opportunities to improve the series and provide a more accurate gauge of credit availability,” says Lynn Fisher, MBA’s Vice President of Research and Economics. “We expanded our historical series to cover over 10 years of historical data, and followed that with the introduction of four MCAI sub-indices (Conventional, Government, Conforming, and Jumbo) to help users better understand what is driving changes in the overall MCAI. Today we are excited to announce an updated methodology that responds more effectively to changes in the marketplace and better accounts for the frequent addition and subtraction of investor offerings. While using the exact same data, this updated methodology does a better job of reflecting new loan programs that did not exist in the base month of the index (March 2012). In addition we are redefining our conforming and jumbo indices to be restricted to conventional loan programs only. Previously, conforming and jumbo status was determined solely by loan size. In the new methodology, high balance FHA and VA loan programs are not included in the jumbo category.
“The main difference with this change is that the prior methodology had shown a tightening of credit over the past few months. The new methodology shows a modest loosening of credit availability over this time period, in line with other indicators of credit availability. This is a result of new jumbo loan offerings that did not exist in our 2012 base period becoming more popular and prevalent in recent periods. Our new methodology captures the addition of these new loan offerings more effectively and better aligns with anecdotal evidence of loosening credit conditions over the last seven months.”
Fisher continues, “The overall credit availability increase in July was driven by an uptick in programs that allow for refinancing among relatively lower credit score borrowers. We observed this trend in both the conventional and government programs.”
Of the four component indices, the Jumbo and Government MCAI saw the greatest loosening (both up 1.3 percent) over the month followed by the Conventional MCAI (up 0.7 percent), and the Conforming MCAI (up 0.1 percent).
For more information, www.mba.org.