There was a very slight downward change in the availability of mortgage credit last month, driven primarily by on ongoing slippage in the availability of conforming loans. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said its Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) declined 0.2 percent in April to 183.0.  A decrease in the index indicates a tightening of lending standards.



Lynn Fisher, MBA's Vice President of Research and Economics said, "After some program changes early in the year and some merger activity among investors, credit availability held fairly steady in April with little discernable change in the composition of the supply of credit for government and jumbo programs.  Conforming credit availability has slipped a bit since the beginning of the year, with fewer program offerings along a range of credit characteristics and no particular culprit." 

Of the four component indices, the Conforming MCAI had the largest negative change in credit access, down 0.9 percent.  It was followed by the Conventional MCAI (down 0.6 percent), and the Jumbo MCAI (down 0.4 percent). The Government MCAI was unchanged from last month.

The MCAI was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012.  The four component indices are constructed using the same methodology of the total MCAI and the Conforming and Jumbo indicates have the same base level as that index. The Conventional and Government indices are calibrated to better represent where each index might fall in March 2012 relative to the Total=100 benchmark.