Mortgage lending standards loosened in January, with the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) increasing 1.1 percent to 177.1. The MCAI indicates the overall standard with which lenders are offering credit; an increase equates to loosening, while a decrease equates to tightening.
“Mortgage credit availability increased for the fifth consecutive month in January, driven by increased availability of jumbo loan programs,” said Lynn Fisher, MBA’s vice president of Research and Economics, in a statement. “We saw a particular increase in agency jumbo programs that focus on loans in high-cost areas that exceed the baseline conforming loan limit of $424,000 but are still eligible for purchase by the GSEs. While the change in GSE loan limits may have had an indirect impact on the jumbo MCAI, there were other factors at play, as several investors rolled out new jumbo loan programs in January.”
The MCAI is comprised of four indices: Conforming, Conventional, Government and Jumbo. The Jumbo MCAI increased 4.7 percent in January, while the Conventional MCAI and Government MCAI increased 2.3 percent and 0.2 percent, in order. The Conforming MCAI decreased 0.1 percent.
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