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Moody's positive credit analysis doesn't include mortgages

April 27, 2012

When Moody’s Analytics released a report that said, “Credit is already flowing more normally, and the spigot should be fully open in 2013,” they weren’t talking about mortgages.

“What I meant was that, particularly outside of mortgages, lenders are starting to ease standards so that we are going to get more money flowing to customers,” said Scott Hoyt, senior director of consumer economics for Moody’s and the author of the report. 

While Hoyt said things like credit cards and auto loans are now more widely available, he’s “not seen nearly as much evidence of loosening of standards in the mortgage space” and “mortgages are behind the curve throughout.”

But, ignoring mortgages, Hoyt also clarified what he meant by “normal.” And in case anyone was wondering, “normal” is not what we had before the recession when, as Hoyt puts it, “lenders were lending to everyone that could breathe.” 

Instead, he means that “creditworthy borrowers being able to borrow within reasonable limits.” Ah, reasonable limits. What happened to those? 

So where do mortgages sit? Well, those with really high credit scores can still get them. 

According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors, it seems that the likelihood that lower scoring borrowers could qualify for a mortgage has declined from the 2001-2004 time period. (See chart below.)

While the survey involved a tad bit of guesstimation on the part of real estate agents, the researchers conclude the survey did “substantiate relatively tight credit conditions.”

So, while everything else in the credit market seems to be loosening up, mortgages could stay pretty tight for the next couple of years.

I’m sure all of you are shocked.


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