The Mortgage Bankers Association latest Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) revealed this week U.S. mortgage credit availability increased in August 2021.
The MCAI rose by 3.9 percent to 123.7 in August. 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 7.6 percent, while the Government MCAI increased by 1.1 percent. Of the component indices of the Conventional MCAI, the Jumbo MCAI increased by 9.4 percent, and the Conforming MCAI rose by 5.1 percent.
"Credit availability increased in August, driven by significant activity across all indexes," said Joel Kan, MBA's Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. "This expansion was heavily driven by the addition of refinance loan programs at a time when the 30-year fixed rate has been above 3% for the past month, and refinance activity has trended lower. Of note, jumbo credit availability increased 9% to its highest level since March 2020, as more non-QM jumbo and agency-eligible high-balance loan programs were offered. In the conforming space, more lenders offered GSE refinance programs catered to lower-income borrowers to help reduce their rates and payments. There was also a slight expansion in government credit, as more investors offered streamline refinance options for FHA and VA loans."