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MortgagePoint » Your Trusted Source for Mortgage Banking and Servicing News 58 J O U R N A L April 2023 For single women, housing has always made up a large share of total assets. Over the last 30 years, the average single woman's wealth has increased 88% on an inflation-ad- justed basis, from just over $142,000 in 1989 to $267,000 in 2019, and housing has remained the single largest component of their wealth. In the latest available 2019 data, housing made up 49% of total assets for the average single, female-headed household, up from 44% three years prior. Housing has likely generated further wealth gains for single women since 2019, given that house prices increased over 40% between 2020 and 2022. Typically, the lower the income of a home-owning household, the greater the share of its wealth that stems from home- ownership. This pattern is no different for single, female-headed households. Housing wealth made up 68% of total assets in 2019 among single women in the lowest income quintile, while it made up only 22% among single women in the top income quintile. The difference in the composition of wealth means that fluctuations in home prices will have a much bigger impact on the wealth of lower-income, single, female-head- ed households. However, there are several benefits of homeownership that, despite the potential downside risk from volatility in house prices, result in greater wealth accumulation when compared with renting. Homeowners benefit from wealth accumula- tion from house price appreciation over time and the equity gains generated by monthly mortgage payments, which become a form of forced savings for homeowners. While house price growth may stall, or even decline, in the near term, historically housing has been a key driver of wealth creation and single women are taking note. U.S. MORTGAGE CREDIT AVAILABILITY SLIPS M ortgage credit availability de- creased in February according to the Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) that analyzes data from ICE Mortgage Technology. The MCAI fell by 3% to 100.1 in February. A decline in the MCAI indicates that lending standards are tightening, while increases in the index are indicative of loosening credit. The index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012. The Conventional MCAI decreased by 4.4%, while the Government MCAI de- creased by 1.6%. Of the component indices of the Conventional MCAI, the Jumbo MCAI decreased by 4.4%, and the Conforming MCAI fell by 4.3%. Conventional, Government, Conform- ing, and Jumbo MCAI Component Indices "Mortgage credit availability decreased to its lowest level since January 2013 with all loan types seeing declines in availability over the month," said Joel Kan, MBA's VP and Deputy Chief Economist. "The conforming subindex decreased 4.3% to its lowest level in the survey, which goes back to 2011. This decline was driven by the ongoing trend of shrinking industry capacity as mortgage rates stayed significantly higher than a year ago. Additionally, in this volatile rate environment and potentially weakening economy, there was also a reduction in refinance programs offered for low credit score and high-LTV borrowers." BORROWERS TAKING OUT MORE ARMS TO OFFSET RISING RATES A ccording to the latest Originations Market Monitor covering the month of February, Black Knight said de- mand dips are causing the real estate market to lose some steam as rate lock applications dropped as loan production shifted toward jumbos, which offer more favorable rates than Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) can. "Mortgage rates ticked up again in Febru- ary after a brief respite, showing once again just how rate-sensitive the market continues

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