The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said on Thursday that overall access to mortgage credit tightened very slightly in August.  The Association's Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) decreased 0.3 percentage points from 116.4 in July to 116.1 last month.

Michael Fratantoni, MBA's Chief Economists said that while overall access to credit tightened from July to August, "We did see some loosening in certain segments of the purchase market.  In particular, lenders instituted additional offerings of loan programs like the FHA 203(k) home improvement program and one-time-close programs for financing new construction."

The FHA 203(k) loan allows borrowers to include renovation expenses in their loan amount.  One-time-close loans streamline the purchase and financing of new construction.

The MCAI analyzes data from the AllRegs® Market Clarity® product.  It is benchmarked to 100 in March 2012 and a decline in its number indicates that lending standards are tightening while a higher number shows a loosening of credit.  An increase in private lender jumbo loan programs had sent the index higher in July.