Credit Scores for Lease Applicants Are Rising

Credit Scores for Lease Applicants Are Rising

Good credit is becoming increasingly crucial for renting an apartment and according to RentCafe’s latest report, the credit scores of renters and lease applicants has been going up one point each year since 2018.

“Specifically, according to our analysis of more than five million lease applicants nationwidethe average credit score of renters in the U.S. was 638 in 2020,” the report says.

credit scores for lease applicants in top cities

Some key findings:

  • Baby boomers have the highest scores (683), while the youngest renters, Gen Z, are at the other end with 586. Still, it’s worth noting that, of all age groups, Gen Z increased their scores the most in the last three years, by 55 points since 2018.
  • Renters in San Francisco boast the highest scores in the nation, 719, followed by those in Boston (716), New York (715), and Seattle (706).
  • Nationwide, the average credit score of renters clocked in at 638 in 2020. Those living in high-end buildings are the only ones boasting above-average credit scores of 669.
  • Those with less-than-ideal scores can still find nice apartments in Arlington, TX, or Memphis, TN, cities where renters’ average scores hover around 580. Moreover, an extra 20 points would get them in a luxury building in places like Mesa, AZ, Las Vegas, or Houston. In these cities, the average credit scores for high-end buildings are the lowest in the country.

“Plus, credit scores can also vary widely in different types of buildings. For example, renters in high-end buildings had an average credit score of 669 last year – just 43 points separated them from renters living in mid-priced buildings, whose average score was 626. Meanwhile, the credit score of those living in low-end buildings was 597, exactly 29 points below that of renters in mid-range apartments,” RentCafe says in the study.

Baby boomers lead with the highest average credit scores

By generation, baby-boomer renters led all other generations in 2020 with an average credit score of 683.

Since they’ve had more time to build up their scores, they’re in better shape than Gen Xers (653), millennials (644) and the youngest renters, just starting to live on their own, Gen Z (586).

2020 Report: Rent Fell, Pandemic Kept Renters From Moving is a nationwide apartment search website and a part of Yardi. Our original city-based research, insights, and in-depth analysis of the real estate market have been used in stories featured on major media publications across the U.S.

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