In February 2016, mortgage credit availability remained unchanged, 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 remained unchanged at 123.8 in February. A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, whereas increases in the index indicate loosening credit.

The conforming MCAI saw the greatest loosening and increased 1% over the month, followed by the Government MCAI at .6%. The Jumbo MCAI decreased .6% and the Conventional MCAI decreased .8% over the month.

"Credit availability was flat over the month,” said Lynn Fisher, MBA vice president of research and economics. “Slight declines in conventional programs aimed at low-to-moderate income borrowers were offset by increasing availability of government-backed programs.”

“More than half of the investors in our credit availability data set are now offering some form of a conventional low down payment loan program which is targeted at lower-income borrowers and first-time home buyers and generally allows a down payment as low as 3%," he said.

The monthly MCAI report consists of five measures of credit availability:

  • Total mortgage credit availability index
  • Conventional mortgage credit availability index
  • Government mortgage credit availability index
  • Conforming mortgage credit availability index
  • Jumbo mortgage credit availability index