Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI)



Mortgage Credit Availability Decreases Slightly in August

Higher Index=More Credit Available
Lower Index=Less Credit Available


Mortgage credit availability decreased in August, according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), which analyzes data from the AllRegs® Market Clarity® product.

The MCAI decreased 0.3 percentage points from 116.4 in July to 116.1 in August. A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of a loosening of credit. The index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012.

"While overall access to credit tightened in August, we did see some loosening in certain segments of the purchase market," said Michael Fratantoni, MBA's Chief Economist. "In particular, lenders instituted additional offerings of loan programs like the FHA 203(k) home improvement program and one-time-close programs for financing new construction."

The FHA 203(k) loan allows borrowers to include renovation expenses in their loan amount. One-time-close loans streamline the purchase and financing of new construction.

NEW CONVENTIONAL AND GOVERNMENT COMPONENT INDICES
Last month, MBA began reporting on two additional measures of credit availability as part of the monthly MCAI release: the Conventional Mortgage Credit Availability Index and the Government Mortgage Credit Availability Index, with historical data back to 2011.

The Conventional and Government MCAIs, which are component indices of the Total MCAI, are constructed using the same methodology, and are designed to show relative credit risk/availability for conventional and government (FHA/VA/USDA) loan programs. The difference between the component indices and the total MCAI is first, the population of programs they examine, and second, the "base levels" to which they are calibrated. Using data from the MCAI and our Weekly Applications Survey, MBA calibrated the Conventional and Government indices to better represent where each index might fall in March 2012 (the "base period") relative to the Total= 100 benchmark.

EXPANDED HISTORICAL SERIES
The Total MCAI has an expanded historical series which gives perspective on credit availability going back 10 years (expanded historical series does not include new Conventional or Government MCAI). The expanded historical series covers 2004 through 2010, and was created to provide historical context to the current series by showing how credit availability has changed over the last 10 years - this includes the housing crisis and ensuing recession. Data prior to March 31, 2011, was generated using less frequent and less complete data measured at six-month intervals and extrapolated in the months between for charting purposes.



MBA has partnered with AllRegs® to produce monthly MCAI, which feeds current mortgage underwriting parameters into a single index number to capture whether overall mortgage credit is more or less available from month to month.

The MCAI provides the only standardized quantitative index that is solely focused on mortgage credit.

Questions about the MCAI? Contact mbaresearch@mba.org.
Questions about AllRegs MarketClarity? Contact cfleming@allregs.com.



MCAI What's New

Read about MBA's Mortgage Credit Availability Index in Seeking Alpha