After decreasing 1.2% in February, mortgage credit availability decreased 1.5% in March to a score of 177.9 on the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI).
A decrease in the index shows that lending standards are tightening, while increases are indicative of loosening credit. The index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012.
Looking at the component indices of the monthly report, credit availability for government loans decreased 2.1% in March, while credit availability for conventional loans fell 0.8%. Within the conventional loan category, credit for conforming loans fell 0.8%, while credit for jumbo loans fell 0.7%.
“Mortgage credit availability decreased in March, driven by both conventional and government loan programs,” says Joel Kan, associate vice president of research and economics for the MBA, in a statement. “The government MCAI saw the largest decrease, which was driven by investors making adjustments to their interest-rate reduction offerings for FHA and VA loans.”
The index is based on data from Ellie Mae’s AllRegs Market Clarity business information tool.