Credit Standards Tighten In March

The standards lenders use to evaluate whether or not a borrower is qualified for a mortgage aren't fixed. Sometimes it's easier to get a loan and other times you're going to need a higher credit score and steadier income. The Mortgage Bankers Association measures where standards are with their monthly Mortgage Credit Availability Index. Any increase in the index indicates credit standards are loosening while declines mean they're tightening. According to the most recent release, availability tightened in March. This, however, is to be expected, as the impact of the coronavirus has led to uncertainty in the economy. And naturally, during economic uncertainty, lenders will become more conservative and take on fewer risks. “Mortgage credit supply decreased 16 percent in March to the lowest level since June 2015, with declines in availability across all loan types,” Joel Kan, MBA's associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said. “There was a reduction in the availability of loans with lower credit scores and higher LTV ratios, and the largest pullback came from the jumbo and non-QM space.” In short, prospective buyers should be prepared and have their finances in order, if they want to give themselves the best chance to qualify for a loan.

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