The Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), a measure developed by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), was unchanged in April at 177.9.  The Index indicates the availability of credit based on whether lending standards are tightening, which would result in a lower score, or loosening, an increase in the index.

Joel Kan, MBA's Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting, said "Credit availability in April was unchanged overall, but the components told different stories. Government credit tightened slightly as investors continued to pull back on streamline refinance products, while conventional credit availability increased, driven mainly by an expansion in jumbo credit. The jumbo market remains competitive for lenders according to data from our Weekly Application Survey, as the spread between conforming 30-year fixed rate loans and jumbo 30-year fixed rate loans widened to 12 basis points over March and April, the widest this spread has been since early 2016."

As Kan indicated, the components making up the MCAI were mixed. The Conventional MCAI increased by 1.9 percent while the Government MCAI moved in the opposite direction, down 1.4 percent. Of the two indices within the Conventional MCAI, the Jumbo index increased by 4.4 percent while the Conforming MCAI fell by 0.9 percent.

The index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012 while its components were benchmarked to the same date, but the Conventional and Government indices have a different numerical base to better represent where each index might fall in March 2012 relative to the Total=100 benchmark.