Published in The Wall Street Journal on January 15, 2014, 11:59AM
By Nick Timiraos
'"A new report provides some evidence that it may have become a little easier for some Americans to get a mortgage as the housing market improves and lenders grapple with a pullback in refinancing amid higher mortgage rates.
The average credit score for approved mortgages fell to 727 in December, down from 748 one year earlier, according to a report released Wednesday by Ellie Mae, a mortgage technology firm. (Under a system devised by Fair Isaac Corp. FICO -2.19%, credit scores run on a scale from 300 to 850.)
The report said that some 46% of mortgages that closed in December had credit scores above 750, compared with nearly 57% one year earlier. Meanwhile,…