Less credit available as lenders cut conforming offerings

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Mortgage credit availability declined in April as lenders cut back on the number of conforming products they offered.

The Mortgage Credit Availability Index fell 0.2% compared with March to 183. The index is calculated by the Mortgage Bankers Association using information from Ellie Mae's AllRegs Market Clarity database.

The government loan component was unchanged, but the conventional component fell 0.6%.

There were 0.9% fewer conforming loans offered in March, while jumbo loan offerings were down by 0.4%; both are part of the conventional loan index.

"Conforming credit availability has slipped a bit since the beginning of the year, with fewer program offerings along a range of credit characteristics and no particular culprit," said Lynn Fisher, the MBA's vice president of research and economics, in a press release.

March's 183.4 was the highest value for the MCAI since the MBA introduced it in June 2013.

"After some program changes early in the year and some merger activity among investors, credit availability held fairly steady in April with little discernable change in the composition of the supply of credit for government and jumbo programs," Fisher said.

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