Mortgage credit availability was basically flat in February in comparison with January, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI).
The MCAI, which was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012, stood at a score of 123.8 in February. A decrease in the score indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases are indicative of loosening credit.
Credit for conforming loans saw the most loosening in February, increasing about 1.0% on the index compared with January. Credit for government loans increased about 0.6%.
Credit for jumbo loans, however, decreased 0.6%, and credit for conventional loans decreased 0.8%.
“Credit availability was flat over the month,” says Lynn Fisher, vice president of research and economics for the MBA, in a release. “Slight declines in conventional programs aimed at low-to-moderate income borrowers were offset by increasing availability of government-backed programs. More than half of the investors in our credit availability data set are now offering some form of a conventional low down payment loan program which is targeted at lower-income borrowers and first-time home buyers and generally allows a down payment as low as three percent.”