The housing market is a mixed-bag nationally. The mortgage market, on the other hand, is trending higher.

To be sure, we are still plagued by a dearth of purchase activity (though purchase applications increased 0.3% for mortgagethe latest reported week). We'd love to see purchases trend materially higher; for no other reason that it will signal a more normalized housing market – one driven by owner-occupied buyers.

We mentioned a couple weeks ago that lending standards have eased considerably over the past two years based on the MBA's Mortgage Credit Availability Index . We don't expect that trend to reverse. We see further easing in the future.

For one, the state of the mortgage market looks pretty darn good. Black Knight (formerly LDS) reports loan delinquencies are down 15% year over year. Overall, foreclosure inventory is now at its lowest since May 2008.

Fewer loan delinquencies and lower foreclosure inventory are by-products of improved job growth and higher home prices. On job growth, the economy has been adding 200,000+ new jobs a month for the past five months. An improving employment outlook makes lenders more willing to lend – more jobs, more risk tolerance.

At the same time, mortgage loans are still cheap. shows the national average on the 30-year fixed-rate loan below 4.3%. Freddie Mac shows it below 4.15%. These are 2014 lows.

Today, the mortgage market is as favorable to lender and borrower alike as it has been in the past six or seven years. Therefore, we highly recommend borrowers take advantage of the opportunity, because it's impossible to know how long it will last.

Information provided by Jessica Regan.

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