Lenders: You can double risk-taking and still remain below pre-crisis levels


Credit availability remained steady in the fourth quarter of 2016, well below pre-recession levels, according to the Credit Availability Index from the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center.

Credit availability held steady at 5.2% during the fourth quarter, according to the HCAI. However, as seen in the chart below, which used data from eMBS, CoreLogic, the Home Mortgage Disclosure act, IMF and the Urban Institute, it is still far below the pre-crisis years.

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credit box

(Source: eMBS, CoreLogic, HMDA, IMF and Urban Institute)

The HCAI measures the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default, or go unpaid for more than 90 days past their due date. A lower HCAI shows lenders are not willing to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards, making it harder to get a loan, whereas a higher HCAI shows lenders are looser in their lending and take more risks, making it easier to get a loan.

The current level of 5.2% is up from 2013’s third-quarter low of 4.6%, however it is down significantly from the 12.5% average seen from 2001 to 2003.

The Urban Institute report shows there is significant room for expansion within the credit box. In fact, the current risk could be doubled across all channels and still be well within the pre-crisis standards set from 2001 to 2003.

To see the index’s extensive 35-page explanation of its data usage and methodology, click here.

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