New index reveals mortgage credit easing

As mortgage rates rise, competition to make loans to buyers is expected to heat up

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Continuing an upward trend, mortgage credit availability rose in May compared to the month before, according to a new index from the Mortgage Bankers Association and mortgage information provider AllRegs. The Mortgage Credit Availability Index, announced today, is designed to gauge whether overall mortgage credit is more or less available month to month by factoring in current mortgage underwriting criteria from more than 85 lenders or investors, including credit score, loan type, and loan-to-value ratio. The MCAI is the only standardized quantitative index that is solely focused on mortgage credit, the companies said. The index will provide lenders, policymakers and researchers with a window into mortgage credit availability trends and how they may be impacted by policy changes, said Mike Fratantoni, MBA's vice president of research and economics, in a statement. The MCAI rose to 108.9 in May from 108.6 in April. The survey is benchmarked to an index value of 100 in March 2012, ind...