Mortgage credit availability went up yet again in February amidst an expansion in access to government loans, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The Mortgage Credit Availability Index rose 0.4% from a month earlier to 177.8, the MBA reported Tuesday. An increase in this case indicates looser lending standards, based on a benchmark level set in March 2012 at 100.
The loosening of credit stemmed from two separate trends, according to Lynn Fisher, MBA's vice president of research and economics.
"The supply of credit increased as more investors offered affordable low down payment mortgages and streamlined documentation loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration and the Veterans Administration," Fisher said in a news release.
"However, the impact of that increase on the overall index was partially offset by the first downturn in the availability of jumbo credit in a year due to the consolidation of some jumbo programs."
Of the four component indices, the government MCAI saw the greatest increase in availability over the month, rising 2.3% from January. This was followed by the conforming MCAI, which increased 0.1% month over month. The conventional MCAI decreased 2.2% over the month, and the jumbo MCAI dropped by 4.4%.