MBA: Mortgage Credit Availability Increased In January

Mortgage credit availability increased 1.1% in January to reach a score of 177.1 on the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI).

Credit availability for jumbo loans increased 4.7%, while credit availability for conventional loans increased 2.3%. Credit for government loans increased 0.2%, while credit for conforming loans decreased 0.1%.

“Mortgage credit availability increased for the fifth consecutive month in January, driven by increased availability of jumbo loan programs,” says Lynn Fisher, vice president of research and economics for the MBA, in a release. “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 [that] are still eligible for purchase by the government-sponsored enterprises [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 report, which analyzes data from Ellie Mae’s AllRegs Market Clarity business information tool, was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012. A decrease in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases are indicative of loosening credit.

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