Based on new data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, U.S. mortgage credit availability increased in May 2019 according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI).
The MCAI rose 1.9 percent to 189.5 in May. 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 increased 4.4 percent, while the Government MCAI decreased slightly (0.6 percent). Of the component indices of the Conventional MCAI, the Jumbo MCAI increased by 6.8 percent, and the Conforming MCAI rose 0.9 percent.
"Credit supply increased 2 percent in May, driven by the fifth straight gain in the jumbo index, which was up 7 percent and surpassed last month as the new all-time survey high," said Joel Kan, MBA's Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. "The conventional index continues to grow, while the government index has generally been lower this year. Government credit supply continues to decline since peaking in 2017, as there are fewer streamlined refinance programs being offered."
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association's latest Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending May 31, 2019, U.S. mortgage applications increased 1.5 percent from one week earlier. This week's results included an adjustment for the Memorial Day holiday.
U.S. pending home sales declined in April 2019, a modest change from the growth seen a month before. Only one of the four major regions - the Midwest - experienced growth, while the remaining three regions reported a drop in their respective contract activity.