The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Mortgage Credit Availability Index measures how easy or difficult it is for borrowers to secure financing. If the index increases, that means lending standards have loosened and borrowers should expect to have an easier time qualifying for a loan. When it tightens, the opposite is true. In October, the MBA found the index up 2.3 percent from the month before. Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said it was the first increase since July. “Credit availability increased in October for the first time since July,” Kan said. “The ongoing economic recovery and improving labor market led to a rise in credit supply for various loan types.” Among them, there was an increase in credit availability for low credit score loans and loans with higher loan-to-value ratios. Still, despite the improvement, credit availability remains tighter than it’s been in recent years. In fact, the index is at a level last seen in 2014.