In today’s housing market, many are beginning to wonder if we’re returning to the riskier lending habits and borrowing options that led to the housing crash 15 years ago. Let’s ease those concerns.
Several times a year, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) releases an index titled the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). According to their website:
“The MCAI provides the only standardized quantitative index that is solely focused on mortgage credit. The MCAI is . . . a summary measure which indicates the availability of mortgage credit at a point in time.”
Basically, the index determines how easy it is to get a mortgage. The higher the index, the more available mortgage credit becomes. Here’s a graph of the MCAI dating back to 2004, when the data first became available:
As the graph shows, the index stood at about 400 in 2004. Mortgage credit became more available as the housing market heated up, and then the index passed 850 in 2006. When the real estate market crashed, so did the MCAI as mortgage money became almost impossible to secure. Thankfully, lending standards have eased somewhat since then, but the index is still low. In April, the index was at 121, which is about one-seventh of what it was in 2006.
Why Did the Index Get out of Control During the Housing Bubble?
The main reason was the availability of loans with extremely weak lending standards. To keep up with demand in 2006, many mortgage lenders offered loans that put little emphasis on the eligibility of the borrower. Lenders were approving loans without always going through a verification process to confirm if the borrower would likely be able to repay the loan.
An example of the relaxed lending standards leading up to the housing crash is the FICO® credit score associated with a loan. What’s a FICO® score? The website myFICO explains:
“A credit score tells lenders about your creditworthiness (how likely you are to pay back a loan based on your credit history). It is calculated using the information in your credit reports. FICO® Scores are the standard for credit scores—used by 90% of top lenders.”
During the housing boom, many mortgages were written for borrowers with a FICO score under 620. While there are still some loan programs that allow for a 620 score, today’s lending standards are much tighter. Lending institutions overall are much more attentive about measuring risk when approving loans. According to the latest Household Debt and Credit Report from the New York Federal Reserve, the median credit score on all mortgage loans originated in the first quarter of 2022 was 776.
The graph below shows the billions of dollars in mortgage money given annually to borrowers with a credit score under 620.
In 2006, lending standards were much more relaxed with little evaluation done to measure a borrower’s potential to repay their loan. Today, standards are tighter, and the risk is reduced for both lenders and borrowers. These are two very different housing markets, and today is nothing like the last time.
Find Your Next Home
[showcaseidx shortcode encountered an error]
Please call/text/message/email me to share your thoughts about your next home and I’ll identify your most important next step.
If you’re reading this late at night and want to start now, first send me an email, then focus on these items of the home buying process: 1) Download my Home Buyers Guide to learn general information (if you’re into doing your own research). 2) Talk to a quality mortgage lender and get pre-approved for financing. 3) Search for homes currently on the market to get a feel for the types of homes, locations, and price points available. 4) Read my Denver real estate blog (updated daily!) to further educate yourself about the market and relevant topics for home buyers. And of course, when in doubt, just call me and I will help you with each step of your journey.
When It Is Time To Sell Your Home
Find out how much your home is worth and download my free guide for home sellers for helpful information. It is important to choose a REALTOR® who can develop an effective marketing strategy for your property, negotiate well on your behalf, and has the knowledge to provide an accurate market comparison so you can determine the right asking price. The market changes each week and your asking price is an important component of your selling strategy. I am here to listen and serve. I will share how your home stacks up against the competition, or how we can position your property to sell quickly and for a good price, or talk through any unique circumstances or goals. Contact me today to start a discussion…
My Denver real estate blog is updated daily with useful information for home buyers and sellers…
Real Estate Housing Market | Buying a Home | Selling a Home | Financing a Home | Renting | Homeownership | Investing