March Mortgage Credit Availability Up 0.6%

Mortgage credit availability increased in March, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Thursday.

The MBA Mortgage Credit Availability Index rose by 0.6 percent to 125.4 in March. The Conventional MCAI increased 0.8 percent, while the Government MCAI increased by 0.4 percent. Of the component indices of the Conventional MCAI, the Jumbo MCAI increased by 1.5 percent, and the Conforming MCAI rose by 0.2 percent. 

The report 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.

“Credit availability inched higher in March, driven by  the ongoing economic and job market recovery,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “This has increased the amount of low credit score and high LTV products. All the market segments covered by our sub-indexes increased over the month, notably government and jumbo indexes. The government index, which includes FHA, VA and RHS mortgages, increased for the sixth time in seven months to its highest level in a year.

Kan said looking ahead, MBA expects growth in the purchase market to be driven by millennials and first-time home buyers–and credit availability to qualified borrowers will play an important role in supporting this demand. “Jumbo credit supply increased for the sixth consecutive month, a strong rebound after many lenders pulled back in the first half of 2020 at the onset of the pandemic,” he said. “Jumbo availability is increasing again as the economy regains its footing and coincides with the strong demand for homebuying and accelerated home price growth in many markets.”  

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