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Mortgage credit availability recorded a mild uptick during January, according to new data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

The MBA’s Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) recorded a 0.7% uptick last month to a 92.7 reading; the index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012. The Conventional MCAI increased 1.3%, while the Government MCAI was unchanged.

Of the component indices of the Conventional MCAI, the Jumbo MCAI increased by 1.9% and the Conforming MCAI sneaked up by 0.2%.

“There was a slight increase in credit availability in January, driven by a greater number of conventional loan program offerings. However, overall credit availability remained close to 2012 lows, and the conventional index was close to its record low in the series dating back to 2011,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s vice president and deputy chief economist. “Even though there was an increase in cash-out refinance programs available, credit supply overall is tight. The challenging lending environment has pushed many lenders to reduce costs by cutting back on certain aspects of their business, including exiting origination channels, which has contributed to lower credit supply.”

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