Mortgage Credit Availability Rose In March

Mortgage Credit Availability Index

The Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), provided by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), offers insights into the accessibility of mortgage credit for homebuyers and refinancers. The latest report for March 2024 indicates a 1.1% increase in mortgage credit availability, reaching a level of 93.9.

It's essential to note that a decline in the MCAI suggests tightening lending standards, while an increase signals loosening credit. Since its benchmarking in March 2012, the index has served as a vital metric for assessing credit availability.

Component Indices Breakdown

  • Jumbo Loans: The Jumbo MCAI, a subset of the Conventional MCAI, saw a notable increase of 2.6% in March. This growth in jumbo credit availability is particularly noteworthy as it was the only component to surpass levels from a year ago. The expansion in jumbo credit was fueled by both non-QM and super-conforming loan programs.

  • Conforming Loans: Within the Conventional MCAI, the Conforming MCAI also recorded a positive trend, rising by 1.2%. This signifies an increase in credit availability for conventional loan programs falling under conforming loan limits.

  • Government Loans: The Government MCAI, which evaluates FHA, VA, and USDA loan programs, experienced a minor decline of 0.1%.

Methodology and Calibration

Each component index of the MCAI is constructed using a consistent methodology to assess relative credit risk and availability. The "base levels" of the Conforming and Jumbo indices align with the Total MCAI (March 2012=100), while the Conventional and Government indices have adjusted "base levels" to better represent their relative positions in March 2012.

(Source: mba.org)

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