Mortgage Credit Availability Unchanged in February

Mortgage credit availability remained unchanged in February and held near its lowest level in six years, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported this morning.

The MBA Mortgage Credit Availability Index stood at 124.6 in February, unchanged from January. The Conventional MCAI decreased 0.3 percent, while the Government MCAI increased by 0.3 percent. Of the component indices of the Conventional MCAI, the Jumbo MCAI increased by 0.2 percent and the Conforming MCAI fell by 0.7 percent.

Joel Kan, MBA Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting, said despite the February reading, the forecast remains optimistic. “The housing market is in strong shape heading into the spring, with robust growth in purchase applications, home sales and new residential construction,” he said. “Government credit supply has increased in five of the past six months, albeit in small increments, but remains tight by historical standards. This adds another obstacle for many aspiring first-time buyers who are already navigating supply and affordability constraints.”

Kan added expected home sales growth this year is still likely to be driven by first-time buyers, spurred by millennials reaching peak first-time homebuyer age. “Many of these potential buyers will likely utilize FHA and other low down payment loans to purchase a home,” he said.

The MCAI analyzes data from Ellie Mae’s AllRegs Market Clarity business information tool. 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.

About the Mortgage Credit Availability Index

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

The MCAI is calculated using several factors related to borrower eligibility (credit score, loan type, loan-to-value ratio, etc.). These metrics and underwriting criteria for more than 95 lenders/investors are combined by MBA using data made available via the AllRegs Market Clarity product and a proprietary formula derived by MBA to calculate the MCAI, a summary measure which indicates the availability of mortgage credit at a point in time.  Base period and values for total index is March 31, 2012=100; Conventional March 31, 2012=73.5; Government March 31, 2012=183.5.

To learn more about the Ellie Mae AllRegs Market Clarity platform visit For more information on the Mortgage Credit Availability Index, including Methodology, Frequently Asked Questions and other helpful resources, visit or contact