September Mortgage Credit Availability Up 1.5%

Mortgage credit availability increased for the third straight month in September to its highest level in five months, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Tuesday.

The MBA Mortgage Credit Availability Index rose by 1.5 percent to 125.6 in September. The Conventional MCAI increased 4.5 percent, while the Government MCAI decreased by 0.7 percent. Of the component indices of the Conventional MCAI, the Jumbo MCAI increased by 5.8 percent, and the Conforming MCAI rose by 2.6 percent.

“Last month’s expansion was driven by a 4.5 percent increase in the conventional index, while the government index slightly decreased,” said Joel Kan, MBA Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Even with increases in seven out of nine months thus far in 2021, total credit availability is still around 30 percent less than it was in February 2020 before the pandemic.”

Kan noted in light of elevated rates of home-price appreciation, lenders are responding by offering a wider range of loans to accommodate qualified buyers. “Jumbo credit availability increased almost 6 percent to its highest level since March 2020, with more loan programs for non-QM jumbos and loans catering to self-employed borrowers or those with non-traditional sources of income,” he said. “The conforming index indicated a greater supply of loans for cash-out refinances, investor properties and adjustable-rate mortgages. Even as mortgage rates continue to rise, cash-out refinances remain an option for borrowers who have sufficient home equity and need additional cash.”

The report analyzes data from the ICE Mortgage Technology 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 ICE Mortgage Technology 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