While it did dip a bit last month,
the availability of mortgage credit appears to be stabilizing, having moved
only slightly over the last three months. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s
(MBA’s) Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) was down 0.1 percent in
December, to a reading of 122.1. A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending
standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of
loosening credit.

The MCAI was at 181.3 in February
2020 as news of the pandemic broke. It declined by 16.1 percent in March and another
12.2 percent in April. Subsequent smaller decreases ultimately took the index
to 118.6 in September before it began what is so far a hesitant recovery.

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