Photo: Robert Clark

Over the last three years, the average credit score required to rent an apartment in the US rose 12 points.

And, in some of the country’s hottest housing markets, the score needed to get approved on application can be as much as 87 points above the national average, according to a report released last week by the listing site RentCafe.

Nationally, the average score required to get approved on a rental application was 650 in 2017, up from 638 in 2014. Meantime, rejected rental applications had an average score of 538.

The national averages fluctuate depending on building type. For example, the average score needed to get approved in a “high-end” building was 683, while approved applications in “low-end” averaged an approval score of 624.

The news for renters in many ultra-hot markets was even worse.

Of the top 10 cities with the highest approved credit scores for renting this year, Boston, MA ranked first with an astounding average approved credit score of 737. Nashville, TN had the lowest in the top 10 at 686.

Unsurprisingly, five of the West Coast’s most infamously unaffordable cities also made the list — San Francisco, CA (724), Seattle, WA (711), Oakland, CA (707), Los Angeles, CA (691) and Portland, OR (690).

Minneapolis, MN (711), Philadelphia, PA (702), and Chicago, IL (690) rounded out the top 10 cities with the highest approved credit scores for renting.

Noticeably absent on the top 10 list was the country’s most expensive rental market — New York City, which ranked 19 with an average approval score of 654.

“NYC is a special case because it is a very large and very diverse market in terms of apartment inventory as well as renters,” Nadia Balint, a data analyst at RentCafe, tells BuzzBuzzNews.

 And, while national average rents have risen just over 20 percent over a five-year period, in hot markets like Seattle they have increased over 50 percent during the same period.

By generation, Baby Boomers fared the best, with an average accepted average score of 683. Millennials and Gen Xers both averaged about 650, while Gen Z (the youngest of the generational groups) applicants averaged 623.

The scores can seem daunting, but there is more to the picture than just the number.

“When reviewing rental applications, landlords and property managers look at your overall credit history, including whether you make payments on time, have accounts in default or collections, your rental history and other factors that go into the credit score formula. The sum of these things can weigh more in the approval process than the credit score by itself,” says RentCafe in the report.

Click here to read the entire report.

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