December Mortgage Credit Availability Decreases

Mortgage credit availability decreased in December, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported this morning.

The MBA Mortgage Credit Availability Index fell by 0.1 percent to 122.1 in December. The Conventional MCAI decreased 2.8 percent, while the Government MCAI increased by 2.1 percent. Of the component indices of the Conventional MCAI, the Jumbo MCAI increased by 1.4 percent and the Conforming MCAI fell by 7.2 percent.

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.

“Credit availability in December remained essentially unchanged, with a decrease in conventional credit supply offset by an increase in government credit,” said Joel Kan, MBA Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “The decline in conventional credit availability was the first in three months and was driven by fewer ARM offerings. ARM loans have increasingly seen a smaller share of the market, given the historically low rates for fixed-rate mortgages. Availability for government loans and jumbo loans have increased for four months and three months in a row, respectively.”

Kan said increased credit supply for jumbo loans and government loans, driven in part by the greater supply of lower credit score and higher LTV loans, should support first-time home buyers entering the market. “This will also help to facilitate sustained purchase activity for what is expected to be a strong 2021 for the housing market,” he said.

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