Jobless claims came out yesterday, and they were actually down just a tick, which really doesn't help at all because we're sitting now after three weeks, we have 3.3 million three weeks ago, 6.6 million the week after that, and then just right at 6.6 million, so we had a little bit over that two weeks ago, and then this week, we just came in at 6.6 million. Those are some staggering numbers. Having said that, I am going to continue to go back to the fact that this is not a housing bubble. This is not an economic recession.
MBA puts together this measure on a monthly basis, and they've been watching the credit availability and it fell off, and it fell off specifically because of those non-government backed loans. I want to talk about this for a second. This is the lowest level of mortgage credit availability since 2015, and a lot of this loss is in the non-government. If I look at conventional, which is non-government backed, which is an interesting term because you actually think of conventional kind of being all-encompassing, the conventional measure, in this case, is the non-government backed, so you're talking about the small banks, the portfolio loans, and the instances where they're not Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Those went down 24% already, and they'll probably go down even further the next month when these are measured.
Conforming, which is backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, was down 2.7%, the number of people that could be eligible versus were eligible last month. This is the measure of eligibility. Jumbo was down 37%. Jumbo has almost become non-existent. Only certain banks are having it, and they're requiring lower loan-to-values, lower debt-to-income ratios, and higher credit scores.
Then, Ginnie Mae, which covers FHA, VA, and USDA was down almost 7%, and that's because of those credit score restrictions that we all saw, where we were coming up off of the 600. Some banks were going to 640, 660, 680, and then many of them were restricting the debt-to-income ratio to 45%. We also saw many lenders saw the loss of the down payment assistance programs. All of that goes into that. We're going to see that number go lower still in April.
Now, interestingly enough, there's a lot of conversations going on today with Chase, who holds one of the largest warehouse lines. Chase CEO and Mark Calabria are, I don't want to say they're buddies, they know each other, and the question is, is, "Is this some sort of a play for market share?" I don't know. I'm just, I'm being human and I'm guessing. There are some conversations going on as far as, "Where is this going? What are the actual goals set behind the scenes that are creating this inability for FHFA to stand up where we need them most?", because that kind of stability is what gives me, the lender, you, the realtor and our consumers that we serve the knowledge and the comfort, knowing that this is all going to be okay, and the housing market, which was so strong before we got here will be that strong, if not, stronger when we get out.
In fact, it's my belief that the housing market could be the very thing that continues to grow our economic strength and pull us out of this recession quickly. Those are conversations that have yet to have been concluded. They're conversations that are still going on. Who is going to be affected most? It's the first-time homebuyer.
Listen to this full episode to get all of Nicole's insights and results from her research for the week.
The Rueth Team of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation
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