Mortgage Credit Tightens Slightly In December

Mortgage credit availability remained largely steady in December, with credit tightening by just a fraction of a percentage point, according to a report released Tuesday by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Mortgage Credit Availability Index decreased 0.1 percent to 122.1 last month, with the Conventional MCAI decreasing 2.8 percent and the Government MCAI increasing 2.1 percent.

“The decline in conventional credit availability was the first in three months and was driven by fewer ARM offerings,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “ARM loans have increasingly seen a smaller share of the market, given the historically low rates for fixed-rate mortgages. Availability for government loans and jumbo loans have increased for four months and three months in a row, respectively.”

Kan added that “The increased credit supply for jumbo loans and government loans, driven in part by the greater supply of lower credit score and higher LTV loans, will support first-time home buyers entering the market. This will also help to facilitate sustained purchase activity for what is expected to be a strong 2021 for the housing market.”