CoreLogic released a new quarterly report featuring the CoreLogic Housing Credit Index (HCI) that measures variations in home mortgage credit risk attributes over time—including borrower credit score, debt-to-income ratio (DTI) and loan-to-value ratio (LTV). A rising HCI indicates that new single-family loans have more credit risk than during the prior period, and a declining HCI means that new originations have less credit risk.
The current HCI shows mortgage loans originated in Q3 2016 continued to exhibit low credit risk versus the previous quarter and Q3 2015. In terms of credit risk, Q3 2016 loans are among the highest-quality home loans originated since the year 2001.
“Mortgage originations over the past 15 years have exhibited a huge swing in credit tolerance, as shown in our Housing Credit Index. The index incorporates six risk attributes, including the three C’s of underwriting—credit, collateral, and capacity. Using 2001 originations as a base year, the HCI shows the significant loosening of credit running up to 2006. This was followed by a dramatic tightening of credit in response to the real estate crash and a decline in high-credit-risk applicants beginning with the Great Recession,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist of CoreLogic. “While low downpayment and high payment-to-income products are available today, borrowers generally need good credit scores to qualify. This may be a factor that has led to the drop-off in applications from those with lower credit scores during the last few years.”
Nothaft also observed that one of the consequences of this prolonged trend is that many potential homebuyers appear to believe that they cannot get a mortgage. “When we compare applications to closed loans, what we find is that lenders are originating the bulk of the applications that they are receiving, but the applications that are coming in tend to be from relatively high quality, low-risk applicants.”