Zillow: 30% of Americans Still Can’t Get a Mortgage

Around 30% of Americans remain unlikely to qualify for a mortgage, notwithstanding steady gains in the housing and mortgage market, finds Zillow’s September Mortgage Marketplace analysis. 

Zillow analyzed 13 million loan quotes and more than 225,000 purchase loan requests on its Mortgage Marketplace in September 2013 and compared the results to a similar study conducted in September 2010.

Not much has changed, the researchers found: borrowers with credit scores beneath 620 who requested purchase loan quotes for 30-year, fixed-rate conventional mortgages were unlikely to receive even one quote in September 2013—unchanged from three years ago—even if they offered a “relatively high” down payment of 15-25%.

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Almost three in ten Americans (28.4%) have credit scores beneath 620, according to data provided by myFICO.com. At the same time, the bar has gotten higher for borrowers to get the lowest available mortgage rates.

“Despite all-time high levels of affordability in the housing market, tightened lending standards mean that nearly one-third of Americans are unlikely to be able to achieve the American Dream of homeownership because they can’t qualify for a mortgage due to a low credit score,” said Erin Lantz, director of mortgages at Zillow, in a statement. “Your credit score is the single most important factor in determining your mortgage interest rate and monthly payment.” 

Typically, the best mortgage rates are reserved for those with credit scores of at least 740—up from 2010’s 720 baseline. 

About 40% of Americans currently fall into the 740-or-better credit score category, according to myFICO.com, compared to 2010 when 47% of Americans had credit scores of 720 or above and were able to get the best rates. 

Written by Alyssa Gerace

 

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