Mortgage credit availability decreased

Mortgage credit availability decreased 2.4 percent to 124.3 in December according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), which analyzes data from Ellie Mae’s AllRegs Market Clarity business information tool. A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index indicate loosening credit. Of the four component indices, the Conventional MCAI saw the greatest tightening (down 4.8 percent) over the month followed by the Jumbo MCAI (down 4.2 percent), and the Government MCAI (down 0.6 percent). “A decline to the index is generally indicative of tightening lending standards,” said Lynn Fisher, MBA’s vice president of Research and Economics. “However, this month, a large part of the decline was driven by a technical issue related to implementation of affordable, low down payment, loan programs. Many investors discontinued existing low down payment loan programs only to replace them with new iterations of similar programs that were discontinued.”

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