Lending standards tightened in February, especially
for conforming and super-conforming (jumbo) loans. The Mortgage Bankers Association
(MBA) said its Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) declined by 1.2
percent in February. The composite index
fell to 180.7 from 182.9 in January while some components retreated to
multi-month lows. A decline indicates a tightening of lending standards while
an increase means the reverse.
Lynn Fisher, MBA’s Vice
President of Research and Economics, reported that, “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.”
All four of the
composite’s components moved lower. The Conventional MCAI was down 2.5 percent,
the Conforming index was down 2.1 percent, and the Jumbo MCAI dropped by 2.8
percent. The Government MCAI suffered an
0.2 percent loss.
The MCAI is benchmarked
at March 2012=100 as are the Conforming and Jumbo versions. The Conventional MCAI
and Government MCAI are benchmarked to the same date but at 73.5 and 183.5