The average credit score for approved mortgages is finally declining a little bit. As thousands of homeowners smartly refinance their mortgages during the global pandemic, banks are getting more competitive.
Before the 2008 – 2009 recession, the average credit score for approved mortgages averaged around 720. 720 is actually the cut-off point between “Good” and “Excellent” credit.
Given the housing market collapsed nationwide anyway, one shouldn’t be too impressed with a 720 credit score. A 720 credit score should be viewed as average, at least from this loan officer’s perspective.
After the housing bubble burst, the average score for approved mortgages shot up to 769 from 2009 until the end of 2012. A 769 credit score beats out 80% of all other credit scores out of 850. In other words, banks weren’t lending to hardly anybody. The upside is that the probability of a similar type of housing crash in the future has declined.
The “good news” for borrowers is that according to Fannie Mae the average credit score of an approved mortgage applicant is now down to 741 as of December 2020. I say “good news” because it’s brutal for even good income earners to get a mortgage nowadays. Many renters I know have been shut out of the housing market simply because they can’t get a loan.
Although credit standards are loosening, a credit score of 741 is still a pretty high hurdle to overcome given you still need a good income and a healthy balance sheet to cover borrowing ratios. But at the margin, a lower credit score hurdle should allow more people to borrow money to further support the housing market recovery.
I still see little signs of sub-prime mortgages or negative amortization mortgages returning. But one thing we should be concerned with is the latest Federal Housing Administration initiative to get Boomerang Buyers back in.