According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, U.S. mortgage credit availability increased in September according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). The MCAI increased 1.4 percent to 167.0 in September 2016.
A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of loosening credit. The index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012. Of the four component indices, the Government MCAI saw the greatest increase in availability over the month (up 1.9 percent), followed by the Conventional MCAI (up 0.7 percent), the Conforming MCAI (up 0.7 percent), and the Jumbo MCAI (up 0.6 percent).
“The increase in credit availability in September was driven by more investors offering streamlined refinance programs to borrowers with USDA and FHA loans.” said Lynn Fisher, MBA’s Vice President of Research and Economics. “Streamline programs allow borrowers who have been consistently making their mortgage payments and meet other eligibility requirements, to refinance their existing mortgage into a lower interest rate with reduced documentation requirements. While these programs accounted for most of the increase, we also observed investors continuing their rollout of the new Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac low down payment (97 LTV) loan programs, and some increased availability of jumbo loans.”