Mortgage credit availability remains on the upward trajectory that it has been on since November 2013, a trade industry group said.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the mortgage credit availability index increased .44% from 113.5 in February to 114 in March.

The index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012, and if the MCAI was tracked in 2007, it would have been at a level of roughly 800.

“Consistent with past months, many lenders and investors are providing borrowers seeking higher loan amounts with a broader range of financing options by introducing new jumbo loan programs,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist.

This trend in jumbo mortgages follows the recent mortgage application reports from the trade group, which show a growth in purchase volume for applications with higher loan amounts and contraction in home purchase application volume for lower-balance loans.

According to the most recent survey, the average contract interest rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances increased to 4.46% from 4.45%.

“Over the month, some lenders made a complete exit from wholesale lending operations, while other lenders moved to enter that space or expanded operations,” Fratantoni said.  

Falling in line with the trend, back in December, Stonegate Mortgage Corporation (SGM) completed the acquisition of the wholesale lending channel and certain distributed retail assets from Nationstar Mortgage Holdings (NSM).

“It continues to be an exciting time at Stonegate Mortgage. This acquisition reflects our ongoing growth strategies, as we continue to build our national presence,” Jim Cutillo, CEO of Stonegate Mortgage, said.