Increased access to jumbo loan products brought mortgage credit availability to its highest level since the bust.
The Mortgage Credit Availability Index increased by 3.2% month to month in March to 183.4, as jumbo loan programs offered by lenders grew by 7.2%, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, which calculates the index using information from Ellie Mae's AllRegs Market Clarity database.
"Led by a wave of adjustable-rate jumbo offerings, the Jumbo MCAI surged in March, more than offsetting its 4.4% decline in February, which was the first tightening of the that component index in 11 months. Increases observed in the Government MCAI were driven by increased availability of FHA's Streamline Refinance and 203(k) home rehabilitation loan programs," said Lynn Fisher, MBA vice president of research and economics, in a press release.
March is the highest value for the MCAI since the MBA introduced it in June 2013. Index values between 2004 and 2010 were constructed using historical data. Using that data, the MCAI was last over 200 in early 2008.
Availability of conventional loan products increased 4.5% in March, while government product availability increased 2.3% However, the number of conforming products available decreased 2.6%.