The New Typical Credit Score

A new report has come out that reveals the typical credit score for people buying a home and homeowners refinancing.

Considering the pandemic and the economy, would you guess people’s scores have gone up, down, or stayed about the same?

To provide perspective, during the Great Recession, the typical score for mortgage borrowers fell to 707.

Ready for the answer? Today, that number has risen to 788 — the highest score in the last two decades!

Only 10% of borrowers had scores below 688. What?!!?

This tells me that a lot of good folks who could qualify for a home loan don’t know that they can!

Top tier credit for getting the best interest rate on a FHA loan is 620.


  • Most lenders accept scores down to 600 for a 3.5% down FHA loan.
  • Most lenders accept scores down to 580 for a 5% down FHA loan.
  • A few lenders go all the way down to a 500 score for FHA. This isn’t the norm, so expect to pay a higher interest rate and show a good, stable income.
    Personally, I suggest raising your score to 580 or 600 before applying for a mortgage unless there was one weird circumstance that temporarily docked your score, and you are fully ready to take on homeownership.


If your credit score is lower than what you would like to see, don’t despair! Take control.

First, analyze why your score is low. Do you use too much credit? Was there a one-time hardship that you are now recovering from? Did you make a mistake by co-signing for someone? Or was it something else?

Once you have figured out the WHY, then you can take steps to fix or remedy that. If you aren’t sure of the WHY, shoot me an email explaining and I will address the situation in another post.

Meanwhile, go through Steps 1-5 to clean up bad credit in Chapter 2 of Repair Your Credit Like the Pros.


Chapter 12 tells you the quickest, easiest ways to raise your score.

Chapter 13 reveals how to get an awesome score of 800.

And if you need to negotiate a settlement on a charge-off or collection, don’t you say anything to anyone or pay a cent until you read Chapters 15 and 16.

Medical collections are the least damaging and one of the easiest to get deleted. Chapter 17.

And for people wondering if the whole idea of credit repair is even ethical, see Chapter 25.

When it’s too hot to get outside, it’s a good time to self-educate. God bless you and stay safe in the summer heat! Here in the Pacific NW, we are coming off a historic heatwave. Most houses, including my own, do not have air conditioning, so it has been a time of wearing a cold, wet towel around my neck in the afternoon and sleeping on an air mattress in the basement at night.

4 thoughts on “The New Typical Credit Score

  1. Hi Carolyn: This article is a bit confusing. You have the score risen to a 788, is that correct or did you mean 688 in the sentence after the Great Depression? Thanks.



    1. I apologize. I should have written it to be more clear.
      The typical score has risen from 707 during the Recession to 788 today.
      So 788 is like the average score for mortgage borrowers.
      At the low end (the bottom 10%) scores are 688 and lower. In other words 90% have a score higher than 688 today.
      This is for mortgage borrowers, who tend to have higher scores than the general population as a whole.

  2. I am surprised that scores rose throughout the shutdown. I experienced the exact opposite. Regardless of what I did my scores dropped. Charge a small amount on cc…-4 points pay that balance off…-8 points. No matter what I charged or how much I dropped points, no matter how much I paid off I got no added points. My scores steadily dropped during the shutdown and even more so my fico 5,4&2’s with never a late pay and a relatively small mortgage balance. Interesting info though, just not my experience.

    1. I, too, was surprised, Hunter. The typical score might be a lot lower if they based it on the entire population rather than only people getting a mortgage. That subset probably did not lose their jobs during the pandemic. As for your credit situation, I don’t know where you are getting your scores, but it might be completely different on your mortgage credit report.

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