Are Low Credit Scores Discouraging Buyers?

A recent review of home loan activity conducted by CoreLogic reveals a significant difference between the average loan applicant today compared with 10 years ago. The analysis looked at possible reasons loan originations have dropped over the past decade. Tighter credit standards are often blamed for keeping potential buyers from entering the housing market. But – though credit availability is tighter today than it was before the financial crisis and recession – there hasn’t been an equivalent increase in the number of applicants who have been denied loans. This indicates that, though credit standards have been raised, they may not be the only reason loan originations have dropped. In fact, CoreLogic’s analysis found that the average borrower credit score last year was nearly 750, while it was closer to 700 in 2005. The fact that average credit scores have increased could point to a drop in the number of loan applications from buyers with lower scores. If potential buyers are being discouraged from applying for a loan because their credit score isn’t optimal, it could be contributing to the overall drop in originations. It also means that loosening credit standards may not be the key to unlocking mortgage demand. Instead, consumers may need to be better informed about lending standards and how to check, correct, and maintain a good credit score. More here.

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