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Mortgage credit availability falls 0.3% in June

Lenders tightened credit standards as higher mortgage rates slowed refinance and purchase activity

Mortgage credit availability for borrowers fell in June as higher mortgage rates took a toll on purchasing power.

The monthly Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) fell by 0.3% in June, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. A decline of the index, benchmarked to 100 in March 2012, indicates lending standards are tightening, while an increase suggests loosening credit. 

Credit availability was mixed by loan type. The conventional MCAI rose 1.2% while the government MCAI dipped by 1.7%. Of the component indices of the conventional MCAI, the jumbo MCAI increased by 1.4% and the conforming MCAI climbed by 0.6%. 

“Mortgage credit availability decreased slightly in June, as significantly higher mortgage rates compared to a year ago slowed refinance and purchase activity and impacted the overall mortgage credit landscape,” said Joel Kan, associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting at the MBA. 

Purchase mortgage rates, measured by the Freddie Mac PMMS Index, were at 5.3% last week. While rates are on a downward trend due to concerns about a potential recession, they remain well above last year’s 2.9% 30-year purchase rate. 

Borrowers’ demand for mortgage loans fell last week driven by a 7.7% decline in refi applications and a 4.3% dip in purchase applications from the previous week, according to the MBA.

What opportunities do lenders miss out on by not focusing on credit

HousingWire recently spoke to Mike Darne, Vice President of Marketing for CreditXpert, who said focusing first on the borrower’s credit holds the key to winning business that other lenders won’t even see.

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Although there was reduced supply of lower credit score and high loan-to-value (LTV) rate-term refinance programs, the decline was offset by increased offerings for conventional adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) and high balance loans, Kan said.

In a market with a shortage of inventory and soaring rates, an increasing number of homebuyers have been opting for ARMs this year, which carry lower rates for an initial period of fixed interest and amortize over a 30-year term. Application volume for ARMs hit a 14-year high in May, making up nearly 11% of all mortgage applications. Last week, it consisted of 9.5% of all mortgage applications. 

“With higher rates and elevated home prices, more prospective buyers are applying for ARMs, but activity remains below historical averages,” Kan said. 


  1. I feel like your opening line is misleading. Lenders continued to tighten credit standards in June as higher mortgage rates slowed refinance and purchase activity.

    As a broker, many of my lenders have been lowering their standards of lending not raising them. I can do FHA to 550 now. I can go to 580 with most lenders where it was 600 or 620 before. Jumbo standards easily offer 90% financing and until this week offered 96.5% at Caliber. They’re rolling out more and more solutions so I don’t think the market is tightening. Slowing for sure due to fewer applicants. But not due to lending standards.

    1. Thanks, Josh. You make a very good point and the opening line has been revised.

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