What credit score do I need to buy a house?

The minimum credit score needed to buy a house can range from 500 to 700, but will ultimately depend on the type of mortgage loan you're applying for and your lender. While it's possible to get a mortgage with bad credit, you typically need good or exceptional credit to qualify for the best terms.

To help consumers better understand how credit scores affect homebuying, Experian compiled information on what credit score you'll need to buy a house and how to improve your credit leading up to a mortgage application.

What credit score do I need to get a mortgage?

Several types of mortgage loans exist, and each one has its own minimum credit score requirement. Lenders may also have additional, stricter criteria they use to determine your creditworthiness other than your credit score (more on this below).

Here's what to expect based on the type of loan you're applying for:

Conventional loans minimum credit score: 620

Conventional loans typically require a minimum credit score of 620, though some may require a score of 660 or higher. These loans aren't insured by a government agency and conform to certain standards set by the government-sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They're by far the most commonly used mortgage loans.

Jumbo loans minimum credit score: 700

A type of nonconforming mortgage loan, jumbo loans may require a credit score of 700 or higher. These loans carry higher loan amounts than conventional loans.

FHA loans minimum credit score: 500

Insured by the Federal Housing Administration, FHA loans have a minimum credit score of 500 if you make a 10% down payment or 580 if you put down 3.5%.

VA loans minimum credit score: 620

There's no minimum credit score set by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, but lenders typically require a score of 620 or higher for VA loans. These loans were created for select members of the military community, their spouses and other eligible beneficiaries.

USDA loans minimum credit score: 580

Insured by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA loans don't have a minimum credit score set by the federal agency, but lenders typically require a score of at least 580. These loans are meant for low- and moderate-income homebuyers looking to purchase a home in rural areas.

If your credit score is in great shape, you may have several loan types from which to choose. But if your credit score is considered bad or fair, your options may be limited.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The average long-term U.S. mortgage rate rose this week to its highest level since mid March, driving up borrowing costs for prospective homebuyers facing a housing market that’s constrained by a dearth of homes for sale. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the benchmark 30-year home loan rose to 6.57% from 6.39% last week. The average rate a year ago was 5.10%. High rates can add hundreds of dollars a month in costs for homebuyers, limiting how much buyers can afford in a market that remains unaffordable to many Americans after years of soaring home prices and limited housing inventory.


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