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Measuring Mortgage Credit Availability

There is a widespread perception that mortgage credit has been exceptionally tight since at least 2009, but until recently there have been no good measures of credit availability. Each of the traditional measures of credit availability has flaws, and none adequately captures credit patterns over time.

In response, three different organizations have developed credit-availability indices to better capture market realities. In this data talk, we explore all three of these methodologies. Mike Fratantoni discussed the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Mortgage Credit Availability Index, which is based on AllRegs Market Clarity Data. AllRegs summarizes lender guidelines on a variety of products; the Mortgage Bankers Association weights these guidelines and creates an index.

Sam Khater discussed the CoreLogic Housing Credit Index, which is based on a principal-components analysis of underwriting criteria, including loan-to-value ratios, credit scores, debt-to-income ratios, and the share of adjustable rate mortgages.

Wei Li discussed the Urban Institute Housing Finance Policy Center’s Credit Availability Index, which measures expected default risk taken by the market at the time of origination, based on borrower and loan product attributes (borrower credit scores, debt-to-income ratios,  loan-to-value ratios, and risky product features), and is weighted to take economic downturns into account.



  • Laurie Goodman, director, Housing Finance Policy Center, Urban Institute
  • Michael Fratantoni, chief economist and senior vice president of research and industry technology, Mortgage Bankers Association
  • Sam Khater, deputy chief economist, CoreLogic
  • Wei Li, senior research associate, Urban Institute


Event Resources

Date & Time Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Urban Institute
2100 M Street NW Washington , DC , 20037
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  • Institute Fellow