Near-term credit availability shows slight improvement

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The latest readings on mortgage credit availability show slight improvement month-to-month, reversing course after two consecutive declines in April and May.

Credit availability was a little better last month than it was in May, according to revised index calculations by the Mortgage Bankers Association based on data from Ellie Mae's AllRegs subsidiary. Additional data on certain conventional loans has been added to the index.

"Mortgage credit availability increased slightly by 0.1% in June lifted by expansion among jumbo loan programs and additional availability of affordable conforming loan programs,” said Lynn Fisher, MBA’s vice president of research and economics, in a press release.

The availability of mortgage credit also is better than it was a year ago. The MBA's Mortgage Credit Availability Index reading was 178.5 in June, up from 161.4 the same month a year ago, as well as from 178.3 in May. Figures are benchmarked to March 2012, when the index reading was 100. Index readings have come in above 100 since February 2013.

The Urban Institute's recently updated first-quarter housing credit availability index, which measures the default risk taken by the mortgage market, also registered a slight expansion in credit.

The percentage of default risk taken by the mortgage market was 5.4% in the first quarter, up from 5.26% in the first quarter of 2016 and 5.22% in the previous quarter, according to the Urban Institute's Housing Finance Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

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