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Mortgage

Mortgage credit eases in November, MBA says

November’s reading is close to June’s 11-year high

It became easier to get a mortgage in November, according to data published Thursday by Mortgage Bankers Association.

The group’s Mortgage Credit Availability Index rose 2.1% to 188.9 last month, indicating a loosening of credit standards. It was close to the 11-year high of 189.5 in June, according to MBA. November’s reading was the third-highest reading of the post-crash years.

“Credit availability rose for the third straight month in November, with an increase in supply across all loan types,” said Joel Kan, an MBA economist. “Expanding credit availability will continue to support active levels in mortgage lending, even as refinance activity starts to level off.”

Measuring credit availability by loan type, the government MCAI that includes loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, the Veterans Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture saw its first increase in nine months. The improvement was “driven by streamline refinance programs,” MBA said in a statement.

The Conforming MCAI that measures loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rose 0.2% after declining through most of 2019.

The biggest jumps were in the two indices measuring private-label mortgages. MBA’s Conventional MCAI, including mortgages not backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the FHA, the VA or the USDA, rose 1.4% and the Jumbo MCAI rose 2.2%.

“Most notably, the jumbo index climbed to yet another record high, as investors increased their willingness to purchase loans with lower credit scores and higher LTV ratios,” MBA’s Kan said.

The MBA’s credit availability indices analyze data from Ellie Mae’s AllRegs Market Clarity covering several factors related to borrower eligibility such as credit scores, loan type, and loan-to-value ratios. The data comes from over 95 lenders and investors, MBA said.

Low mortgage rates will push home lending this year to a 12-year high of $2.07 trillion, MBA said in a Nov. 20 forecast. Refinancing probably will reach $796 billion, the most since 2016, MBA said.

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