Mortgage Credit Eases for 4th Straight Month


Access to credit continued to inch up last month
according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA’s) Mortgage Credit
Availability Index (MCAI).  The index
rose 0.6 percent
to 175.2 in December. 
An increase in the index indicates that lending standards are loosening.

Lynn Fisher, MBS’s Vice President of Research and
Economics said, “Credit availability was up for the fourth consecutive month in
December driven by jumbo loan programs as well as loan programs for borrowers
with lower credit scores and low down payments.”



the four component indices, the greatest increase, as noted by Fisher, was in
the Jumbo MCAI which rose 1.3 percent. 
The Conventional MCAI increased by 0.7 percent, the Government MCAI by
0.6 percent, and the Conforming component by 0.04 percent.

The MCAI and its
components are calculated using several
factors 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 by MBA and analyzed using data made available
via Ellie Mae’s loan application data base.  The MCAI, Conforming, and Jumbo indices have a
base level of March 2012=100. The Conventional and Government indices have
adjusted “base levels” in March 2012, calibrated to better represent where each
index might fall in March 2012 (the “base period”) relative to the Total=100

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