According to a new report from the Mortgage Bankers Association, U.S. mortgage credit availability decreased in April 2017, as represented in a dip in the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI).
The MCAI decreased 0.2 percent to 183.0 in April. 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. Of the four component indices, the Conforming MCAI saw the greatest decrease in availability over the month (down 0.9 percent), followed by the Conventional MCAI (down 0.6 percent), and the Jumbo MCAI (down 0.4 percent). The Government MCAI was unchanged from last month.
"After some program changes early in the year and some merger activity among investors, credit availability held fairly steady in April with little discernable change in the composition of the supply of credit for government and jumbo programs," said Lynn Fisher, MBA's Vice President of Research and Economics. "Conforming credit availability has slipped a bit since the beginning of the year, with fewer program offerings along a range of credit characteristics and no particular culprit."
According to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the first week of January 2018, the average mortgage rate dipped in the U.S. Treasury yields fell from a week ago, helping to drive mortgage rates down to start the year.