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Credit availability unchanged, but refinancing access improved

Posted on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 10:20:46 AM

Mortgage credit availability didn't see a whole lot of movement in February. In fact, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's Mortgage Credit Availability Index, it didn't move at all. The MCAI remained unaltered at 123.8 in February. In March 2012, the index was benchmarked to 100. 

"Credit availability was flat over the month. Slight declines in conventional programs aimed at low-to-moderate income borrowers were offset by increasing availability of government-backed programs," said Lynn Fisher, MBA vice president of research and economics.

While access to residential financing credit was unchanged, the 30-basis point drop in interest rates through the first couple months of 2016 saw the number of borrowers qualifying for refinancing soar. Black Knight Financial Services released its Mortgage Monitor Report earlier this week, showing that the number of borrowers with the opportunity to refinance jumped 30 percent, or by 1.5 million. 

In total, there are now about 6.7 million borrowers who could save around $3,000 per year by refinancing with lower interest rates. By Black Knight's estimation, that could potentially equate to $20 billion in savings overall. Broken down further, 3.3 million borrowers could save at least $200 per month, while close to one million people could save $400 or more per month.