Mortgage Credit Availability Index Unchanged in February, Remains Close to Lowest Level Since 2014

According to the latest Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) that analyzes data from the Ellie Mae’s AllRegs® Market Clarity® business information tool, mortgage credit availability remained unchanged in February. The MCAI remained unchanged at 124.6 in February. 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. In remarks prepared for the release of the MCAI, Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting said, “Credit availability in February was unchanged from January, remaining close to its lowest level since 2014. The housing market is in strong shape heading into the spring, with robust growth in purchase applications, home sales, and new residential construction. Government credit supply has increased in five of the past six months, albeit in small increments, but remains tight by historical standards. This adds another obstacle for many aspiring first-time buyers who are already navigating supply and affordability constraints.” Kan added, “Expected home sales growth this year is still likely to be driven by first-time buyers, spurred by millennials reaching peak first-time homebuyer age. Many of these potential buyers will likely utilize FHA and other low down payment loans to purchase a home.”

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Mortgage Credit Availability Unchanged in February