The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said access to
mortgage credit improved in November for the first time in several months but is
still only about two thirds of its pre-pandemic levels. MBA’s Mortgage Credit
Availability Index (MCAI) gained 0.7 percent compared to October, rising to
1.22.2. A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening,
while increases in the index are indicative of loosening credit.
The MCAI has component indices for each major loan type. The Conventional
MCAI increased 1.3 percent and the Government index rose 0.3 percent. The two component
indices of the Conventional MCAI, the Jumbo MCAI and the Conforming MCAI gained
1.6 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.
“Mortgage credit availability increased slightly in November to its
highest level since July, as the job market improved, and the housing sector
continued to show strong borrower demand,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate
Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “There was an
increase in credit availability for jumbo loans, as well as loan products with
low credit scores, higher LTVs, and adjustable-rate features. Home purchase and
refinance activity have remained strong in recent months, and the increased
credit supply should help qualified borrowers still looking to capitalize on
record-low mortgage rates. However, credit availability is still more than 30
percent below pre-pandemic levels and close to the restricted standards seen in
2014. This has especially impacted government borrowers and first-time
The MCAI and each of its components are 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 a
proprietary product from Ellie Mae. The resulting calculations are summary
measures which indicate 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.