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Mortgage Credit Availability in U.S. Dips in March

Based on a new report by the Mortgage Bankers Association, U.S. mortgage credit availability slightly decreased during March 2016.

The Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) decreased 0.2 percent to 123.5 in March.  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. Of the four component indices, the Government MCAI saw the greatest loosening (up 0.9 percent) over the month while the Conventional MCAI saw the most tightening (down 1.6 percent). The Jumbo MCAI decreased 0.2 percent, while the Conforming MCAI decreased 0.4 percent over the month.

"On net mortgage credit availability tightened very slightly in March. Administrative changes drove declines in the availability of conventional and super conforming loan programs, and those were partially offset by slightly relaxed lending standards on government lending programs which includes FHA, VA, and RHS," said Lynn Fisher, MBA's Vice President of Research and Economics.