Mortgage credit eased slightly in June, indicating that was somewhat easier to get a mortgage loan than in May, according to information released today by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

The MBA's Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) rose to 109.8 in June, a nearly 1 percent increase from May's reading of 108.9. The current figure represents a nearly 10 percent increase from the benchmark of 100, set in March 2012.

June's rise was primarily due to a small increase in the number of cash-out refinances performed, along with small increases in the number of jumbo and investor loans, as well as a slight loosening in loan-to-value requirements.

Credit still lags far behind pre-crash levels

Despite the modest increases in credit availability, lending standards on residential mortgages remain far more restrictive than they were before the crash. The MBA estimates that the index, which has been maintained since March 2012, would have been around 800 in 2007 if the data had been tracked at that time.

The index suggests that mortgage credit has eased this year after tightening somewhat throughout 2012, according to the MBA.

The index is based upon underwriting criteria and other data from more than 85 investors and lenders, including such factors as credit scores, loan types, loan-to-value ratios and more.

According to the MBA, the MCAI is the only standardized quantitative index that focuses solely on mortgage credit.

Published on July 9, 2013