According to the Mortgage Bankers Association's latest Mortgage Credit Availability Index, U.S. mortgage credit availability decreased in February 2018.
The MCAI decreased 1.2 percent to 180.7 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. The Conventional MCAI fell by more (down 2.5 percent) than the Government MCAI (down 0.2 percent). The component indices of the Conventional MCAI both decreased from the month prior, with the Jumbo MCAI falling by more (down 2.8 percent) than the Conforming MCAI (down 2.1 percent).
"Credit availability fell in February by 1.2 percent, led downwards by a decline in conventional offerings. A change in program offerings from a single large investor in the conventional space was responsible for much of the net decline. The decline in February returned the jumbo component index to levels just above year-end levels, and the conforming component index to levels just above last October. The government component index continued along the same modest downward trajectory that it has been on for nearly a year," said Lynn Fisher, MBA's Vice President of Research and Economics.
The National Association of Realtors is reporting this week that single female buyers continue to be a powerful force in the U.S. housing market, while low inventory, rising interest rates and increasing home prices remain, holding back first-time buyers despite notable interest in buying a home.