Mortgage credit availability increased in May by 1.5% as more jumbo and high-balance conforming loan products came on the market, the Mortgage Bankers Association said.
May's Mortgage Credit Availability Index was 180.6, up from 177.9 in April and 178.3 in May 2017. It is the second highest level for the index in 2018 and was the first month-to-month increase since January.
This index is calculated by the MBA using loan program data in Ellie Mae's AllRegs Market Clarity database.
There was growth in product offerings across all loan types in May. "In particular, the conventional index and jumbo index both rose to their highest levels since March 2011," Joel Kan, the MBA's associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said in a press release. "This was mainly caused by increased investor interest in jumbo loans and high-balance conforming loans."
The government product portion of the MCAI was up 1% from April, while the conventional index was up 2%.
The MBA breaks down the conventional index into two components. The jumbo MCAI was up 2.2% from the previous month, while the conforming MCAI increased by 1.9%.
The high point for the index was in March 2017 at 183.4. The index value of 100 was established for March 2012. It has been above 180 only seven times since it was introduced by the MBA in June 2013.
Index values prior to the MCAI's introduction were calculated using historical data. On that basis, in June 2004 the index started at just under 400, rose to a range between 750 and 850 during 2006 and 2007 before falling to near 100 in June 2008, denoting the rise and fall of subprime mortgage product offerings.