Mortgage credit availability increased in May according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index, a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association which analyzes data from Ellie Mae’s AllRegs Market Clarity business information tool.

The MCAI increased 0.5% to 122.6 in May.  A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of a loosening of credit. 

"Credit availability eased somewhat in May, largely as a result of increased availability of cash out refinance loans and greater availability of FHA 203K home improvement loans," said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Chief Economist. 

The index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012.

Of the four component indices, the Conventional MCAI and Conforming MCAI saw the greatest easing (both up 1.2% over the month) followed by the Government MCAI (up 0.1%). The Jumbo MCAI decreased over the month (down 0.1%).