Mortgage credit availability down as an investor changes programs

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Loan program revisions made by one large conventional mortgage investor led to a decrease in total residential home finance credit availability in February.

February's Mortgage Credit Availability Index was 180.7, compared with 182.9 in January and 177.8 for February 2017, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. January's value was the third-highest since the MCAI was introduced in June 2013, although using historical data for the calculations, the index was much higher during the mortgage boom period of the mid-2000s.

"A change in program offerings from a single large investor in the conventional space was responsible for much of the net decline," Lynn Fisher, the MBA's vice president of research and economics, said in a press release. "The decline in February returned the jumbo component index to levels just above year-end levels, and the conforming component index to levels just above last October. The government component index continued along the same modest downward trajectory that it has been on for nearly a year."

The conventional MCAI was down by 2.5% from January and is further broken down into two components: the conforming MCAI, which was down 2.1% from the previous month; and the jumbo MCAI, which was down by 2.8%.

There was a much smaller decline in government program offerings, as that MCAI component was down just 0.2%.

The month-to-month decline in February continued a pattern since September where investors made more products available for the month but pulled back the following month.

The MBA calculates the MCAI using loan program information from the Ellie Mae AllRegs Mortgage Clarity database.

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