It’s becoming increasingly hard to get your name on an apartment lease, as new research from apartment search website RENTCafé shows that nationwide, the average credit score of approved rental applicants is getting higher. Those who applied and got approved for an apartment in 2014 had an average credit score of 638 while those who applied and got approved in 2017 had an average credit score of 650.
Moreover, it gets even tougher when trying to rent in a high-end building. In 2017, tenants accepted in a Class A building had an average credit score of 683 while those accepted in Class B buildings had average credit scores of 647. Low-end buildings like Class C and D welcomed renters with average scores of 624.
Top 10 Cities with the Highest Average Credit Scores of Approved Applicants
These credit requirements can be different depending where you live. To narrow it down, RENTCafé analysts selected the top 10 cities with the highest approved average credit scores for renting in 2017. At the top of the list is Boston, where renters pay about $3,200 per month and have a credit score average of 737, the highest among the 50 U.S. cities studied.
The second highest renter credit score in the country is in San Fran, where those approved for an apartment had an average score of 724. San Francisco is also the second most expensive rental market across the U.S. with tenants paying rents above $3,400.
Much to no one’s surprise, Seattle, WA is third on the list with an average credit score of 711. Witnessing the second highest 5-year rent increase in the U.S. (51.8%), those renting here pay on average $2,000 per month.
According to the research, even some less expensive rental markets have high credit standards. One example would be Minneapolis, MN where those who applied and were approved for an apartment in 2017 had an average credit score of 711, same as in Seattle. The average monthly rent in Minneapolis has seen a 29% increase in the past 5 years, as this rental market is becoming more competitive.
Another tight market is Oakland, CA where the average credit score for those renting an apartment in 2017 is 707. Oakland has witnessed the highest increase (52.7%) in the average monthly rent among the top 10 cities, with rents jumping to $2,520/month.
Also in the top 10 are Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Portland, Chicago and Nashville.
When it comes to getting approved for an apartment, the credit score plays an important part. However, landlords and property managers will also take into consideration an applicant’s overall credit history and rental history. Tenant screening data analyzed by RENTCafé shows that there is a very strong 0.96 correlation coefficient (where a 1.0 coefficient represents the strongest correlation) between credit scores and approval rates. In other words, the higher your credit score, the higher your chances of being approved for an apartment, the study concludes.