Any loosening of credit access in February was offset by
tightening by other programs the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said on
Thursday. Consequently the Association's
Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) remained the same as in January,
123.8. A decline in the MCAI
indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index
are indicative of loosening credit.
was flat over the month. Slight declines in conventional programs aimed
at low-to-moderate income borrowers were offset by increasing availability of
government-backed programs," said Lynn Fisher, MBA Vice President of Research
and Economics. "More than half of the investors in our credit availability data
set are now offering some form of a conventional low down payment loan program
which is targeted at lower income borrowers and first time home buyers and
generally allows a down payment as low as 3 percent."
MCAI, which was benchmarked at 100 I March 2012, consists of four component
indices. The Conforming component saw the greatest loosening
(up 1.0 percent) over the month followed by the Government MCAI (up 0.6
percent). The Jumbo MCAI decreased 0.6 percent, while the Conventional MCAI
decreased 0.8 percent over the month.
MBA constructs the MCAI using data related to borrower eligibility (credit score, loan type,
loan-to-value ratio, etc.). These metrics and underwriting criteria for over 95
lenders/investors are combined with data made available via Ellie Mae's AllRegs® Market Clarity®
product. The Conforming and Jumbo indices have the same "base levels" as the
Total MCAI (March 2012=100). The base
period and values for the Conventional component is March 31, 2012=69 and for the
Government Index March 31, 2012=222.