Credit Scores for the Ages

It’s funny how sometimes a post will take on a life of it’s own within the comments…such is the case with my recent interview of Jillayne Schlicke.  My intentions were to call out to Washington State LOs to make sure they’re up to speed with the new year approaching…the comments have turned into a discussion of credit scores.  Most likely because of Jillayne’s prediction:

“I expect that underwriting guidelines will continue to go up as banks and conforming paper sold to Fannie and Freddie will raise minimum credit score requirements to 800 and require 20% down.  Everyone else will be pushed to FHA.”

Ardell offered stats from 2005 on credit scores and age so I thought I’d share credit score information from credit reports I’ve provided since the start of 2008.  Not all of the subjects obtained a mortgage loan.

  • Age 18 – 29: average credit score = 697.   Don’t let age fool ya, this group had a high score of 807 and a low of 513.  (This group = 12% of the demographic).
  • Age 30 – 39: average credit score = 735.  High score of 811 and the low at 614. (36% of demographic).
  • Age 40 – 49: average credit score = 739.  High score of 819 and a low of 592. (31% of demographic).
  • Age 50 – 59: average credit score = 759.  High score of 820 and the low at 680. (15% of the demographic).
  • Age 60 – 69: average credit score = 714.  High score of 813 and a low at 589.  (4% of the demographic).
  • Age 70 plus: average credit score = 805. High and low score: 805. (1% of the demographic).

The average mid scores, year to date credit reports I’ve ran is 732 for the borrower and 720 for the co-borrower.  This means that if they are considering locking, the rate would be based on the lower of the two mid scores.  I’m also pleased to see that the credit score criteria that I use (credit scores from 720-739) seems to be appropriate for when I’m post.

From the same interview with Jillayne post, Ardell asks:

“What good is it to say interest rates are at 5.875%, if only people 70 plus can get that rate? False advertising…no? If the average person buying a home can only get a rate of 6.5%, then we have to stop encouraging people to think their rate is going to be something that is unlikely”

Using the credit score data above, it’s very likely that the younger group would be FHA candidates.  Not just because of having an average credit score of 697, most are still working on building their savings and do not have 20% down payment.  Combine a 697 mid score with a 90% loan to value and (now costly) private mortgage insurance and FHA may be the better option.  The key is to investigate all available options if someone decides they should buy a home at this stage of their life.  

The next two groups, 30-49 year olds, would fit the rates that I quote at RCG since the credit score criteria I use is based on 720-739.  Based on Friday’s rates, their rate would be 5.875% at 1 point (total shown in lines 801, 802 and 808 of the Good Faith Estimate or HUD).   This combined group is 67% of the applications with credit reports that I have worked with year to date.

Credit scores 740 and above qualify for a slightly better rate.  Based on Friday’s scenario, they would have 0.25% improvement to fee–so 5.875% would be at 0.75% points (using the above example).  Or depending on how rates were, they could possibly obtain an 0.125% better rate.

The slight dip in average credit score to 714 for ages 60-69 I think just reflects that “life happens”.  Maybe something medical has taken place or you were on vacation and thought you paid that credit card or you’re helping your kids with college or you have an unknown parking ticket or an overdue library book turned into a collection.   I’ve seen many surprised people over the years where they had no idea their credit score dropped.   This is in no way a reflection on this age group, it’s just how the stats came in for this report based on my data.

FHA credit scores (where the credit report was ran and FHA was the identified loan program, the loan may be closed or just prequalified) averaged 680.  FHA is not as credit score sensitive as Fannie/Freddie.  FHA is looking for clean credit (no lates) in the past 12 months.

This data is hardly scientific and is really just a reflection of the people I work with which is really pretty diverse.  I don’t advertise or do cold calling or try to “specialize” in a niche market…so I’d like to think that this group is a good “norm”.

It may not be your business…but it is all mine!

Two years ago, our company switched our loan operating system to Encompass, so I have data available for the past two years (closed transactions from March 2005 – March 2007).   I’m pretty surprised at the results after analyzing my purchase transactions and so thought I would share this with you.

Mid Credit Scores

3% had credit scores between 600-619

17% had credit scores between 620-679

25% had credit scores between 680-719

47% had credit scores between 720-799

8% had credit scores above 800

25 % of clients purchased with 100% LTV Financing (80/20 or 100% LPMI)

Average zero down mid credit score = 723

7% FHA Financing

  • Mid credit scores ranging from 644 – 744
  • Average FHA mid credit score = 720

39% had 20% or more for down payment.

The most popular loan programs for my clients:

  • 47% opted for a 30 year fixed conventional
  • 26% have 5 year fixed period ARMs

So what do I make of this?   The consumers with scores under 620 will have a much tougher time, if they’re able to purchase at all.   Especially without a down payment of 5% or better.   Depending on credit history (1-2 years of no late payments), they may be able to go FHA or VA for financing.   The 3% (credit scores of 600 – 619) of my clients who I helped with financing over the past two years, would probably need to go back to drawing board and work on their improving credit scores (and, more importantly, work on changing their credit/spending habits) before being able to obtain financing for a home.   With that said, out of the 3% who were able to buy, I’m only worried about two buyers who may not have followed my advice of working on their credit and revamping their budget (and one of them has a 5 year fixed period ARM).

The 17% (credit scores between 620-679) would probably fit into FHA financing.   Over the past two years, most of my clients would opt for 80/20 or 100% (LPMI) financing over FHA for the following reasons:

  • The upfront PMI (1.5% of the loan amount) is no longer refundable on new loans.
  • Monthly PMI was not tax deductible (VA does not have PMI) for loans originated before 2007.
  • The payment with 80/20s was lower than FHA.
  • Borrowers could keep the 3% down (required with FHA) in reserves instead of draining their savings.  

This information is just a reflection of my purchase business from March of 2005 to my closed transactions as of today.   Historically, I have served more south King County families.   Just over the past year, with my move to Seattle, my business is beginning to expand to Seattle and Bellevue areas.

Before reviewing this data, I was certain that a larger percentage of my business was zero down or subprime.  Now I can see that I’ve done many zero down/subprime “prequalications or preapprovals” and they just didn’t pan out…but the effort that goes into a preapproval almost feels like you completed a transaction…especially for a subprime buyer. 

Again, I don’t represent every lender…just little ol’ me!  😉