According to the Mortgage Bankers Association's Mortgage Credit Availability Index ('MCAI'), U.S. mortgage credit availability increased in December 2016.
The MCAI increased 0.6 percent to 175.2 in December. 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 Jumbo MCAI saw the greatest increase in availability over the month (up 1.3 percent), followed by the Conventional MCAI (up 0.7 percent), the Government MCAI (up 0.6 percent), and the Conforming MCAI (up 0.04 percent).
"Credit availability was up for the fourth consecutive month in December driven by jumbo loan programs as well as loan programs for borrowers with lower credit scores and low down payments," said Lynn Fisher, MBA's Vice President of Research and Economics.
Excessive regulations, rising mortgage interest rates and ongoing home price appreciation pushed housing affordability in the fourth quarter of 2016 to its lowest point since the third quarter of 2008.
The delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit U.S. residential properties increased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.80 percent of all loans outstanding at the end of the fourth quarter of 2016.
According to Freddie Mac's latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the average 30-year mortgage rate held steady after rising last week. The 10-year Treasury yield fell 5 basis points this week following a tepid advance estimate of fourth-quarter GDP.