WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 6, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Mortgage credit availability increased slightly in February according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) which analyzes data from the AllRegs® Market Clarity® product.
The MCAI increased 0.7 percent to 118.6 in February. A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of a loosening of credit. The index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012.
“Credit availability improved marginally in February, led by further increases in jumbo loan programs, and additional take-up of Fannie Mae’s 97 LTV program,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Chief Economist. “More than half of investors are now offering a 97 LTV program, and Freddie Mac announced that their program will be available in mid-March. In terms of conforming credit, this was offset by somewhat tighter constraints on cash-out loans and investors with multiple financed properties.”
CONVENTIONAL, GOVERNMENT, CONFORMING, AND JUMBO MCAI COMPONENT INDICES
MBA now reports on five total measures of credit availability as part of the monthly MCAI release: the Total Mortgage Credit Availability Index, the Conventional Mortgage Credit Availability Index, the Government Mortgage Credit Availability Index, the Conforming Mortgage Credit Availability Index, and the Jumbo Mortgage Credit Availability Index, with historical data back to 2011.
Of the four component indices, the Jumbo MCAI saw the greatest easing (up 1.4 percent over the month) followed by the Conventional and Government MCAI (both up 0.6 percent). The Conforming MCAI decreased slightly over the month from 113.6 last month to 113.4 this month.
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. Similarly, the Jumbo MCAI examines everything flagged as “Jumbo” while the Conforming MCAI examines 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. Using data from the MCAI and the Weekly Applications Survey, 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 which 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 – this includes 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.
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 the AllRegs® Market Clarity® product 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=69; Government March 31, 2012=222.
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ABOUT MORTGAGE BANKERS ASSOCIATION: The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is the national association representing the real estate finance industry, an industry that employs more than 280,000 people in virtually every community in the country. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the association works to ensure the continued strength of the nation’s residential and commercial real estate markets; to expand homeownership and extend access to affordable housing to all Americans. MBA promotes fair and ethical lending practices and fosters professional excellence among real estate finance employees through a wide range of educational programs and a variety of publications. Its membership of over 2,200 companies includes all elements of real estate finance: mortgage companies, mortgage brokers, commercial banks, thrifts, REITs, Wall Street conduits, life insurance companies and others in the mortgage lending field. For additional information, visit MBA’s Web site: www.mba.org.
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