By KENNETH R. HARNEY
A closely watched index that tracks mortgage credit availability — lender requirements on credit scores, down payments and other key loan terms — has some good news for potential home buyers: Things are finally loosening up.
After years of progressively tighter rules on borrower eligibility in the wake of the housing bust, banks and mortgage companies have begun modestly easing their requirements and even expanding the types of mortgages they offer. The Mortgage Bankers Assn.’s latest credit availability index reported improvements in all four of its loan categories during January. The improvements mainly reflect positive lender responses to government efforts to ease regulations and improve affordability in the housing market — all of which means an improved environment for mortgage shoppers