Mortgage Credit Fell 7.3% in December

Mortgage credit availability decreased 7.3% in December to a score of to 175.0 on the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI).

A decrease in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases are indicative of loosening credit. The index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012.

Mortgage credit for conventional loans decreased 14.5% while credit for government loans increased (0.1%.

Credit for jumbo loans decreased by 14.9% and credit for conforming loans fell by 14.0%.

“The supply of credit dropped in December to its lowest since February 2017,” says Joel Kan, Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting for the MBA, in a statement. “The decline was driven by a sharp decrease in the conventional credit space, as we saw the expiration of the Home Affordable Refinance Program. Credit availability in government loans was stable over the month, ticking up slightly. We also saw a decline in high balance and super conforming programs, which drove the decline in the jumbo index.”

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