Mortgage banks showed more willingness to lend out in November, though credit access remains tight for more traditional loans.
The Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Mortgage Credit Availability Index nudged up 1.2 percent in November, totaling 114.6 for the month. The increase follows a slight drop in October to 113.2, the second decline in three months.
MBA's chief economist, Mike Fratantoni, said last month's uptick mostly came from the addition of jumbo loan programs that allow cash-out refinancing.
"Home price appreciation and larger equity cushions have likely made some lenders more willing to allow borrowers to take cash out, while still low mortgage rates may make this a more attractive opportunity for some," Fratantoni said.
While credit access has been on the rise throughout most of the year, increases have mostly been concentrated in the high-priced mortgage market.
Access to conforming loans, on the other hand, has seen little improvement, despite a shrinking market and the government's efforts to reassure lenders. In a survey conducted in October, 71 percent of mortgage banks said they're unlikely to lower their standards at any point in the near future, citing concerns about regulatory actions and borrower stability.
Access to both conventional and government-backed loans increased in November, according to MBA. The group's government index increased less than 1 percent to 247, while the conventional component rose 2.7 percent to 83.1.