Mortgage credit availability increased in January as lenders continued to adjust to new mortgage rules, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported.

The trade group’s Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) increased 1.85 percent to 113 in January from 110.9 in December. An increase in the index reflects easing credit conditions, while a decline shows that they are tightening.

The index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012.  If the MCAI had been tracked in 2007, the tail end of the housing boom, the index would have registered a level of roughly 800.

“Overall, mortgage lenders and investors slightly expanded credit offerings in January on net, but this represented the combination of two divergent trends,” said Mike Fratantoni, chief economist at MBA. “First, the market continues to adapt to the new QM regulation by eliminating products that do not fit inside of the QM box.  This tightening is being offset, both in the market for higher-balance loans, where lenders continue to loosen terms for jumbo loans, and in the refi market, where more lenders are offering streamline refinance programs.”

Source: MBA

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