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Mortgage access same as it was a year ago

Posted on Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 9:36:09 AM

Sometimes time doesn't do much to change anything. The perfect example of this is mortgage access, as one year hasn't brought about a whole lot of change at all. 

While, in the larger scheme of things, access to residential financing has eased up since 2012, the financially turbulent first few months of this year have reversed this trend somewhat, Zillow found. Year-over-year, the online real estate database's Zillow Mortgage Access Index remains pretty much unchanged, despite some variations from quarter to quarter through the last 12 months. Today, the gauge stands at 65, compared with a benchmark index of 100. 

To be clear, this isn't nearly as bad as mortgage access could be. In 2010, for instance, the index reached an all-time low of 11.8. This is compared to a measure of 136.4 in 2004, when mortgages were the most attainable. 

"Recent market volatility is causing some lenders to be more cautious in their underwriting," Dr. Svenja Gudell, Zillow's chief economist, stated. "Tighter mortgage access will make it harder for people with low credit scores to get a home loan, and even people who can get approved for a mortgage will have fewer options in terms of available mortgage products."

While mortgage access certainly isn't what it could be, it is still easier for homebuyers to qualify for residential financing than it was five years ago, and continued proof of an economic recovery could loosen access in the coming months or year.