The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) publishes a monthly index that attempts to quantify how tight or loose lending standards are compared to a common baseline. The Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) is calculated based on several factors including but not limited to credit score, loan type, and loan-to-value ratio.
The MCAI declined 0.9 percent in May to levels that are right in line with the lowest since 2014. The most recent move isn't significant in the bigger picture, but rather another installment of the same trend seen since the start of the pandemic.
According to Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting, “Last month’s tightening was most notable in the government and jumbo segments of the mortgage market. The decrease in government credit was driven mainly by a reduction in streamline refinance programs, as mortgage rates increased sharply through May, slowing refinance activity. Jumbo credit availability, which was starting to see a more meaningful recovery from 2020’s pullback, declined after three months of expansion.”
Breaking MCAI down by sector:
- Conventional .... -0.4%
- Government ..... -1.3%
- Jumbo ..............-1.1%
The government loan category includes only FHA/VA/USDA loans.
The conventional category include all non-government loans.
Jumbo and conforming are both sub-sets of the conventional category.