WASHINGTON, D.C. – RealEstateRama – Mortgage credit availability decreased in May according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) that analyzes data from ICE Mortgage Technology.
The MCAI fell by 3.1 percent to 96.5 in May. 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. The Conventional MCAI decreased 2.3 percent, while the Government MCAI decreased by 3.8 percent. Of the component indices of the Conventional MCAI, the Jumbo MCAI decreased by 1.5 percent, and the Conforming MCAI fell by 3.9 percent.
“Mortgage credit availability decreased for the third consecutive month, as the industry continued to see more consolidation and reduced capacity as a result of the tougher market. With this decline in availability, the MCAI is now at its lowest level since January 2013,” said Joel Kan, Vice President and Deputy Chief Economist. “The Conforming index decreased almost 4 percent to its lowest level in the history of the survey, which dates back to 2011. The Jumbo index fell by 1.5 percent last month, its first contraction in three months, as some depositories assess the impact of recent deposit outflows and reduce their appetite for jumbo loans.”
Added Kan, “Additionally, lenders pulled back on loan offerings for higher LTV and lower credit score loans, even as loan applications continued to run well behind last year’s pace. Both Conventional and Government indices saw declines last month, and the Government index fell by 3.8 percent to the lowest level since January 2013. In a market where a significant share of demand is expected to come from first-time homebuyers, the depressed supply of government credit is particularly significant.”
CONVENTIONAL, GOVERNMENT, CONFORMING, AND JUMBO MCAI COMPONENT INDICES
The MCAI fell by 3.1 percent to 96.5 in May. The Conventional MCAI decreased 2.3 percent, while the Government MCAI decreased by 3.8 percent. Of the component indices of the Conventional MCAI, the Jumbo MCAI decreased by 1.5 percent, and the Conforming MCAI fell by 3.9 percent.
The Conventional, Government, Conforming, and Jumbo MCAIs are constructed using the same methodology as the Total MCAI and are designed to show relative credit risk/availability for their respective index. The primary difference between the total MCAI and the Component Indices are the population of loan programs which they examine. The Government MCAI examines FHA/VA/USDA loan programs, while the Conventional MCAI examines non-government loan programs. The Jumbo and Conforming MCAIs are a subset of the conventional MCAI and do not include FHA, VA, or USDA loan offerings. The Jumbo MCAI examines conventional programs outside conforming loan limits, while the Conforming MCAI examines conventional loan programs that fall under conforming loan limits.
The Conforming and Jumbo indices have the same “base levels” as the Total MCAI (March 2012=100), while the Conventional and Government indices have adjusted “base levels” in March 2012. MBA calibrated the Conventional and Government indices to better represent where each index might fall in March 2012 (the “base period”) relative to the Total=100 benchmark.
EXPANDED HISTORICAL SERIES
The Total MCAI has an expanded historical series that gives perspective on credit availability going back approximately 10-years (expanded historical series does not include Conventional, Government, Conforming, or Jumbo MCAI). The expanded historical series covers 2004 through 2010 and was created to provide historical context to the current series by showing how credit availability has changed over the last 10 years – including the housing crisis and ensuing recession. Data prior to March 31, 2011 was generated using less frequent and less complete data measured at 6-month intervals and interpolated in the months between for charting purposes. Methodology on the expanded historical series from 2004 to 2010 has not been updated.
Data prior to 3/31/2011 was generated using less frequent and less complete data measured at 6-month intervals interpolated in the months between for charting purposes.
ABOUT THE MORTGAGE CREDIT AVAILABILITY INDEX
The MCAI provides the only standardized quantitative index that is solely focused on mortgage credit.
The MCAI is 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 using data made available via ICE Mortgage Technology and a proprietary formula derived by MBA to calculate the MCAI, a summary measure which indicates the availability of mortgage credit at a point in time. Base period and values for total index is March 31, 2012=100; Conventional March 31, 2012=73.5; Government March 31, 2012=183.5.
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