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The Mortgage101 Blog

FROM THE MORTGAGE101 BLOG

Mortgage Lenders Loosened Standards in March

Good news for buyers coming into the spring home-buying season: mortgage credit is now more available that it has been in the past three years, as lenders warm up to the potential for more home loan revenue. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Mortgage Credit Availability Index rose 0.44 percent to 114.0 in March, up from 113.5 in February. The MBA set its baseline index at 100 in March 2012. An increase in the index indicates looser credit standards. “I don’t think there’s any question that mortgage underwriting has gotten easier or is looser than it was two or three years ago, but it’s nowhere near where it was in 2005, 2006,” said Guy Cecala, publisher of the trade publication Inside Mortgage Finance in a MarketWatch article. “We are talking about easing from extremely tight underwriting standards.” Although it didn’t start tracking mortgage credit availability until 2012, the MBA estimates that in 2007 the index would have had a reading of 800. Much of the increase in availability has been to buyers in the higher price ranges, following sales patterns. The National Association of Realtors recently reported that annual sales of homes priced between $500,000 and $750,000 grew 6.4 percent and sales between $750,000 and $1 million jumped 13 percent. At the same time, however, annual sales for home priced up to $250,000 – the bulk of homes on the national market – sank seven percent. “Consistent with past months, many lenders and investors are providing borrowers seeking higher loan amounts with a broader range of financing options by introducing new jumbo loan programs. Over the month, some lenders made a complete exit from wholesale lending operations, while other lenders moved to enter that space or expanded operations,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Chief Economist in a statement. Jumbo loans are for mortgages that exceed the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae guarantee maximums. If prices keep climbing and inventory remains restricted, lenders are likely to keep focusing on opening more credit to buyers in the higher price brackets. more

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Mortgage Rates by Product

Select the mortgage product below to view the rates in your area, or click on the graph icon to see how rates have fluctuated over a 30 day period.

PRODUCT RATE POINTS APR CHANGE TREND
30 Year Fixed 4.45% 0.00 4.53% 0.069% CA 30 Year Fixed Rate Trend
15 Year Fixed 3.51% 0.00 3.64% 0.035% CA 15 Year Fixed Rate Trend
3/1 ARM 3.12% 0.00 3.16% 0.010% CA 3/1 ARM Rate Trend
5/1 ARM 3.27% 0.00 3.32% 0.036% CA 5/1 ARM Rate Trend
7/1 ARM 3.60% 0.00 3.65% 0.065% CA 7/1 ARM Rate Trend
10/1 ARM 3.93% 0.00 3.98% 0.015% CA 10/1 ARM Rate Trend
Home Equity Loan - 10 Year 6.55% 0.00 0.00% 0.007% CA Home Equity Loan - 10 Year Rate Trend
Home Equity Line of Credit 4.76% 0.00 0.00% 0.002% CA Home Equity Line of Credit Rate Trend
Home Equity Loan - 15 Year 6.73% 0.00 0.00% 0.006% CA Home Equity Loan - 15 Year Rate Trend