Mortgage credit availability increased in March according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) that analyzes data from Ellie Mae’s AllRegs® Market Clarity® business information tool.
The MCAI rose by 0.6% to 125.4 in March. 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. The Conventional MCAI increased 0.8%, while the Government MCAI increased by 0.4%. Of the component indices of the Conventional MCAI, the Jumbo MCAI increased by 1.5%, and the Conforming MCAI rose by 0.2%.
“Credit availability inched higher in March, driven by the ongoing economic and job market recovery. This has increased the amount of low credit score and high LTV products,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “All the market segments covered by our sub-indexes increased over the month, notably government and jumbo indexes. The government index, which includes FHA, VA and RHS mortgages, increased for the sixth time in seven months to its highest level in a year. As we look ahead to the expected growth in the purchase market, which will be driven by millennials and first-time homebuyers, credit availability to qualified borrowers will play an important role in supporting this demand.”
Added Kan, “Jumbo credit supply increased for the sixth consecutive month, a strong rebound after many lenders pulled back in the first half of 2020 at the onset of the pandemic. Jumbo availability is increasing again as the economy regains its footing and coincides with the strong demand for homebuying and accelerated home price growth in many markets.”