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Cashout, FHA 203k Loans Drive Up Credit Availability

MCAI up 0.5% in May

June 4, 2015

By Mortgage Daily staff

Credit conditions in residential lending continued to improve last month, with cashout and government-insured home-improvement loans behind the easing. Jumbo conditions, however, tightened.

The Mortgage Credit Availability Index, a standardized quantitative index that reflects credit conditions in real estate finance, was 122.6 in May.

The credit index, which was formally launched back in June 2013, was benchmarked at 100 as of March 2012.

The MCAI inched up from April, when it was reported by the Mortgage Bankers Association at 122.0.

MBA determines the index based using data from Ellie Mae Inc. on lender guidelines.

An increase in the index indicates that credit conditions are loosening.

The MCAI was also up from May 2014, when it came in at 115.1.

In fact, the index hasn't been this high since roughly early 2011 based on historical data.

But the index has a long way to go before it is anywhere near the approximately 880 level it stood at in mid-2006.

MBA Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni explained in the report that improved credit availability for cashout and FHA 203k loans was behind the latest increase.

The trade group said that the Conventional MCAI and the Conforming MCAI were both up 1.2 percent from April -- the biggest gaining categories.

An 0.1 percent month-over-month gain was recorded for the Government MCAI.

But credit standards on jumbo mortgages tightened slightly, with the Jumbo MCAI slipping 0.1 percent.

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