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Mortgage Credit Availability Boosted by Jumbos and 97LTV

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Even though implementation of the Freddie Mac portion of the new 97 percent conventional loan program is still weeks away the program appears to be having an impact on credit availability.  The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) said today that its Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) ticked up in February and that the new loans may be partially responsible.

The MCAI increased by 0.7 percent to 118.6 in February.  Increases in the index, which was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012, indicate that lending standards are loosening.

"Credit availability improved marginally in February, led by further increases in jumbo loan programs, and additional take-up of Fannie Mae's 97 LTV program," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA's Chief Economist.  "More than half of investors are now offering a 97 LTV program, and Freddie Mac announced that their program will be available in mid-March.  In terms of conforming credit, this was offset by somewhat tighter constraints on cash-out loans and investors with multiple financed properties."

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