Well, the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports that mortgage insurers are easing their down payment standards in some cities. I expect (hope) to see the same in metro Phoenix by this time next year.

Some mortgage insurers and lenders are beginning to relax their down-payment requirements, in a sign of increased confidence in the housing market.

The changes, which are being done on a market-by-market basis, mean buyers in some parts of the country can now borrow 95% instead of 90% of a property’s value. Until recently, mortgage companies had tighter standards for these markets because of falling home prices.

“We are feeling better about the economic condition of the marketplace,” said Michael Zimmerman, senior vice president of investor relations at mortgage insurer MGIC Insurance Corp. Borrowers who want to finance more than 80% of a home’s value must typically purchase mortgage insurance.

Earlier this month, MGIC removed New Orleans, Dover, Del., Akron, Ohio, and four other areas in Ohio from its list of restricted markets. The moves followed the company’s decision in September to loosen restrictions on 11 markets, including Denver and St. Louis.