Mortgage credit availability increased slightly in February according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index, a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association which analyzes data from the AllRegs Market Clarity product. 

The MCAI increased 0.7% to 118.6 in February. 

A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of a loosening of credit. The index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012.

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(Source: MBA)

“Credit availability improved marginally in February, led by further increases in jumbo loan programs, and additional take-up of Fannie Mae’s 97 LTV program,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s chief economist.

 “More than half of investors are now offering a 97 LTV program, and Freddie Mac announced that their program will be available in mid-March. In terms of conforming credit, this was offset by somewhat tighter constraints on cash-out loans and investors with multiple financed properties,” he said.