The Average Credit Score to Buy a House in 2022

A Credit Karma Study

Updated

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What credit score do you need to buy a house? It depends on a lot of different factors, but typically higher credit scores make you more likely to qualify for a mortgage and could result in more favorable loan terms.

Though lenders all have different standards, Credit Karma’s member data reveals that people with mortgages tend to have higher credit scores than the average person — meaning that better scores might increase your chance of qualifying for a mortgage.

Using data from Aug. 13, 2022, we determined that the average VantageScore 3.0 credit score for the 29 million Credit Karma members with mortgages was 705 — a decrease from 717 in 2020. (Click here for the full methodology.) Note: Credit score refers to the VantageScore 3.0 model throughout this article, unless otherwise noted.



Overview of credit scores and mortgages for all Credit Karma members with a mortgage

As of Aug. 13, 2022, there were more than 29 million Credit Karma members with mortgages. Among this set, the average VantageScore 3.0 credit score is 705 and the median is 725. Users had an average mortgage balance of $231,194, with an average next monthly payment of $1,632.

In 2020, the average score for this group was 717. This might indicate a general decline of credit health across all consumers over the last two years.

Looking for more info on mortgage debt in the United States? Check out our article on average mortgage debt in America.

Average credit score of Credit Karma mortgage-holders by state

Here are the top five states with the highest average credit scores among Credit Karma mortgage-holders.

  1. Oregon – 726
  2. Hawaii – 723
  3. New Hampshire – 723
  4. Washington – 723
  5. California – 722

These are the five states with the lowest average credit scores among Credit Karma mortgage-holders.

  1. Arkansas – 671
  2. Mississippi – 674
  3. Louisiana – 676
  4. South Carolina – 682
  5. Texas – 685

Now check out where the highest average mortgage balances can be found.

  1. Washington, D.C. – $452,712
  2. California – $427,781
  3. Hawaii – $416,906
  4. Washington – $339,227
  5. Massachusetts – $311,559

And these are the states with lowest average mortgage balances.

  1. West Virginia – $132,334
  2. Mississippi – $141,487
  3. Arkansas – $147,056
  4. Kentucky – $150,252
  5. Iowa – $150,631

There’s some overlap between higher credit scores and higher average mortgage balances and vice versa. This could potentially be because there might be a higher bar to qualify for mortgages when the loans are much larger.

Below, you can see the average TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 credit score of Credit Karma mortgage-holders in each state (plus Washington, D.C.).

State Number of Credit Karma members with an open mortgage Average credit score Median credit score Average mortgage balance
Alabama 448,355 691 706 $162,558
Alaska 52,611 711 729 $260,164
Arizona 661,194 709 727 $255,960
Arkansas 332,268 671 683 $147,056
California 2,555,430 722 743 $427,781
Colorado 561,783 719 739 $305,081
Connecticut 324,160 713 735 $232,834
Delaware 103,290 697 718 $217,665
Washington, D.C. 45,438 715 747 $452,712
Florida 2,156,917 706 725 $226,941
Georgia 1,077,737 702 721 $207,517
Hawaii 81,695 723 743 $416,906
Idaho 162,426 716 732 $230,658
Illinois 1,105,857 709 729 $199,165
Indiana 659,077 701 718 $152,776
Iowa 256,727 708 727 $150,631
Kansas 250,532 708 726 $164,181
Kentucky 424,405 695 710 $150,252
Louisiana 452,720 676 686 $171,487
Maine 132,209 712 730 $171,376
Maryland 566,155 700 720 $285,213
Massachusetts 584,616 721 744 $311,559
Michigan 916,669 708 728 $159,736
Minnesota 432,207 719 739 $215,696
Mississippi 274,667 674 683 $141,487
Missouri 579,919 703 722 $165,059
Montana 81,076 715 734 $216,640
Nebraska 154,974 715 734 $169,426
Nevada 296,641 708 726 $276,618
New Hampshire 142,715 723 744 $219,867
New Jersey 743,482 711 734 $284,093
New Mexico 167,553 701 718 $181,297
New York 1,341,374 714 737 $288,153
North Carolina 873,037 704 724 $201,688
North Dakota 56,593 713 732 $199,018
Ohio 1,103,999 708 727 $152,403
Oklahoma 362,171 692 709 $156,841
Oregon 333,011 726 744 $288,880
Pennsylvania 1,161,897 704 726 $176,456
Rhode Island 105,795 709 731 $230,341
South Carolina 521,768 682 697 $181,658
South Dakota 62,437 713 731 $181,721
Tennessee 666,278 697 716 $190,837
Texas 2,816,954 685 698 $206,457
Utah 284,538 716 734 $295,218
Vermont 55,672 719 738 $177,213
Virginia 793,514 706 727 $266,631
Washington 658,887 723 743 $339,227
West Virginia 167,499 690 705 $132,334
Wisconsin 609,257 699 719 $171,111
Wyoming 55,096 702 719 $206,472

Average credit score of Credit Karma mortgage-holders by city

This study considered the top 100 cities by population in the United States according to the 2021 U.S. Census city population estimates.

California had an unusually high concentration of cities with Credit Karma mortgage-holders who have higher average credit scores. Texas, on the other hand, has a lot of cities with homeowners who have lower average credit scores.

Cities where Credit Karma mortgage-holders have the highest average credit scores

City Average credit score Average mortgage balance
1. San Francisco 760 $763,123
2. Seattle 749 $515,435
3. Irvine, Calif. 748 $595,821
4. San Jose, Calif. 745 $620,008
5. Fremont, Calif. 738 $508,521
6. Scottsdale, Ariz. 738 $397,245
7. Honolulu 737 $457,769
8. Boston 735 $522,584
9. New York 734 $615,856
10. San Diego 734 $481,358

Cities where Credit Karma mortgage-holders have the lowest average credit scores

City Average credit score Average mortgage balance
1. Milwaukee 650 $168,279
2. Memphis 652 $164,424
3. Laredo, Texas 657 $159,308
4. Corpus Christi, Texas 667 $173,332
5. Detroit 671 $134,878
6. New Orleans 671 $239,585
7. Houston 674 $221,575
8. Baton Rouge, La. 674 $196,348
9. Philadelphia 680 $208,134
10. Fort Worth, Texas 682 $210,273

For cities, there’s a significant strong, positive correlation between the average mortgage balance and credit score, indicating that credit scores have some predictive measure of mortgage balances. As credit scores increase, so too do mortgage balances.

Average credit score of Credit Karma mortgage-holders by generation

Older generations tend to have higher credit scores, likely because they’ve had more time to work on their credit.

Among Credit Karma members with mortgages, baby boomers has the highest average credit score at 724. Gen Z has the lowest average at 670.

Millennials and Gen Xers are set apart because they have higher average mortgage balances compared to other generations.

The table below summarizes generational differences among Credit Karma members with mortgages.

Generation Average credit score Average mortgage balance
Silent 708 $163,702
Baby boomer 724 $188,034
Gen X 699 $240,590
Millennial 699 $261,484
Gen Z 670 $195,849

Average mortgage balance of Credit Karma members by credit score

So does having a better credit score mean you’ll have a bigger mortgage? Credit Karma’s data suggests that it does. Check out the table below.

Score type Score band Average mortgage balance Average account age (months)
Subprime 300-600 $185,803 91.9
Near prime 601-660 $212,044 103.3
Prime 661-780 $251,197 117.2
Super prime 781-850 $237,648 154.5

People with prime or super prime credit scores have higher average mortgage balances, despite also having had their home loan accounts open longer on average. That means that their starting balances were likely higher than folks with lower credit scores.

FAQs: Credit scores for mortgages and cost of real estate

What’s the minimum credit score you need by mortgage loan type?

Before we dive into the average credit scores for recent homebuyers, you may be wondering what the minimum credit score is for a mortgage in 2022. The answer is that it depends on the type of mortgage.

Below is a breakdown of the minimum FICO® scores typically required, based on type of mortgage loan — Federal Housing Administration loans (FHA loans), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs loans or conventional loans through a private lender that are insured through Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.

Type of mortgage loan Minimum FICO® score required
Conventional mortgage loan 620
FHA loan 580
VA loan No minimum credit score (though most lenders require a minimum score of 620)

Note that the minimum scores listed above are for FICO credit scores, specifically — this is the scoring model mortgage lenders typically turn to when considering applications.  

What state has the highest average mortgage balance?

Washington, D.C., Credit Karma members had the highest average mortgage balance at $452,712. But Washington, D.C., isn’t a state.

That makes California, with an average mortgage balance of $427,781, the state with the highest average mortgage balance among Credit Karma members. The state with the lowest average mortgage balance among Credit Karma members is West Virginia at $132,334.

What city has the highest average mortgage balance?

Credit Karma members in San Francisco had the highest average mortgage balance — a staggering $763,123. San Jose, Calif., came in a distant second, with an average mortgage balance of $620,009. New York City is close behind that at $615,856.

Meanwhile Toledo, Ohio, had the lowest average mortgage balance among Credit Karma members at only $122,644. Detroit was next lowest at $134,878. Ohio had another city in the lowest mortgage trifecta: Cleveland. The average mortgage balance there was $143,404.

Tips for improving your credit scores

Before applying for a mortgage, you may want to work on your credit scores to help improve your chances of being approved or to better the loan terms you may be offered.

Here are a few things that could help you build your credit.

  • Check your credit reports for inaccuracies. If you find one, report it to the credit bureau. Errors could negatively affect your scores, so clearing it up could help!
  • Pay off existing debt. Debt-to-income ratio is one of the factors lenders may consider during your application process. Having a lower debt-to-income ratio may help you.
  • Avoid applying for new credit. When you apply for credit, it may result in a hard inquiry. Hard inquiries can lower your credit scores.

Check out our article for some more tips on how to build your credit.

Methodology

We analyzed the accounts of about 29 million Credit Karma members with mortgages who had been active on the site within the last 36 months. Averages were based on information from members’ TransUnion credit reports from the 90 days previous to the data pull, which occurred on Aug. 13, 2022. All numbers in this report were rounded to the nearest whole.

Please contact gaby.lapera@creditkarma.com with any inquiries about this article.


About the author: Gaby Lapera is a researcher and writer at Credit Karma and a personal finance expert. She also spends time working on investing and science communication. Gaby graduated with a master's degree in biological anthropolo… Read more.