FHA mortgage rates are typically higher than conventional mortgage rates, but they can be a good option for borrowers with lower credit scores or smaller down payments. The minimum credit score for an FHA loan is 580 with a 3.5% down payment, or 500 with a 10% down payment. However, many FHA lenders require credit scores of at least 620.
FHA mortgage rates don't use risk-based pricing models, so there are no added fees or premiums for lower credit scores. However, your credit score can still affect your interest rate. Borrowers with higher credit scores will generally qualify for lower interest rates.
Average FHA Interest Rate Adjustments by Credit Score
|Credit Score||Interest Rate Adjustment|
|720 or higher||0.000%|
FHA Rates for 580 Credit Score
The minimum credit score for an FHA loan is 580 with a 3.5% down payment. However, many FHA lenders require credit scores of at least 620. If you can make a down payment of at least 10%, you can qualify for an FHA loan with a credit score as low as 500.
FHA Rates for 620 Credit Score
FHA mortgage rates are not directly tied to your credit score. However, a credit score of 620 could qualify you for an FHA loan with a rate of 4.125%. This is a 0.75% drop from a score of 610, which could save you over $40,000 in interest payments on a $250,000 home. FHA loan applicants with a credit score of 620 or higher could qualify for down payment options starting at 3.5%. Borrowers with a score in the 500-610 range usually qualify for down payment options starting at 10%.
FHA Rates for 680 Credit Score
A credit score of at least 680 is considered good. This means that you are a relatively low-risk borrower and are likely to qualify for competitive interest rates on loans.
According to Bankrate, the average FHA loan rate for credit scores of 680-699 is 5.531% as of September 30, 2023. However, it is important to note that interest rates can vary depending on a number of factors, including the loan amount, loan term, and the borrower's debt-to-income ratio.
Borrowers with a credit score of 680 and a down payment of at least 3.5% can qualify for an FHA loan. FHA loans also have lower mortgage insurance premiums than conventional loans, which can save borrowers money over the life of the loan.
FHA Rates for 700 Credit Score
The national average 30-year FHA mortgage interest rate is 6.85%. The average FHA 203(b) loan rate is 3.28%. As of mid-August 2023, a 700 credit score could secure an interest rate of 6.796% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loan of $300,000.
If you have a lower credit score, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of qualifying for an FHA loan with a competitive interest rate:
- Shop around and compare offers from multiple lenders.
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start shopping for a home. This will give you an idea of how much you can borrow and what your monthly payments will be.
- Make a larger down payment. This will reduce the amount of money you need to borrow and make you a less risky borrower to lenders.
- Consider getting a cosigner. A cosigner is someone with good credit who agrees to be responsible for your loan if you default.
If you are considering an FHA loan, it is important to do your research and understand the requirements and interest rates. By understanding your options, you can make the best decision for your financial situation.
FHA Interest Rates by Credit Score: A Comprehensive Guide
When it comes to securing an FHA loan, understanding the minimum credit score requirements and how it affects your mortgage rate is crucial. FHA loans have been a saving grace for many homebuyers, offering a lower down payment option. However, this convenience is tied to specific credit score criteria.
An Overview of FHA Loans
An FHA loan is a government-backed mortgage that provides an opportunity for homebuyers to purchase a property with a smaller down payment. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insures these mortgages, making it easier for eligible borrowers to access financing.
FHA Loan Purpose and Eligibility
FHA loans serve to facilitate homeownership, especially for low- to moderate-income families. They allow for more lenient credit score requirements compared to conventional home loans, making them an attractive option for many.
Minimum Credit Score Requirements
The minimum credit score needed for an FHA loan is technically 500. However, to qualify for a 3.5% down payment, a credit score of at least 580 is required. Borrowers with credit scores between 500 and 579 may still be eligible for an FHA loan but need to make a higher down payment of 10%.
Factors Affecting FHA Loan Eligibility
Besides the credit score, the FHA also considers the borrower's payment history and any previous bankruptcies or foreclosures. Establishing a solid credit rating is essential for increasing eligibility and potentially securing a better interest rate.
Understanding Mortgage Insurance
Borrowers opting for FHA loans are required to pay mortgage insurance premiums. This cost is a factor to consider when comparing FHA loans with conventional mortgage options.
FHA Loan Alternatives
While FHA loans offer the advantage of a lower down payment, they come with mortgage insurance premiums. Exploring alternatives like VA or USDA loans can provide different options with their own benefits and eligibility criteria.
Your Credit Score Affects Your Mortgage Rate—Here’s How to Improve It
If you’ve been tracking mortgage rates, you know they’ve been on quite the roller coaster. Rates were under 4% as recently as last March, peaked above 7% in November and then settled at just over 6% in the early weeks of 2023, all according to mortgage investor Freddie Mac. The recent decline is good news for home buyers—but be warned: Those rates are just averages.
Understanding the Impact of Your Credit Score
“A person’s credit score is typically where we start in the mortgage process,” says Mary Bane, who leads offices across the Midwest for mortgage lender loanDepot. “When we’re talking to a client, the first thing we’ll say is, ‘Hey, do you have any idea what your credit score might be?’”
How Does Your Credit Score Affect Your Mortgage Rate?
In a lender’s eyes, your credit score indicates the risk you pose as a borrower—the likelihood that you’ll make your payments as agreed.
A credit score is a simple, three-digit number that’s meant to represent a consumer’s relative risk,” says Joe Mellman, head of TransUnion’s mortgage business. “A score that’s higher than another really just says that this person is more likely to pay back a debt than the person with a lower credit score.
Credit scores, which were created by the Fair Isaac Corp. in 1989, can range from 300 to 850. Once lenders know your FICO score, they can determine how much interest to charge to offset the risk.
Mortgage Interest Rates Based on FICO Score
Here’s a look at the average mortgage interest rates per FICO score as of Feb. 15, 2023.
- FICO Score 760 and above: Average lowest interest rates.
- FICO Score below 760: Interest rates increase proportionally with lower scores.
If you have a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a starting balance of $400,000, at a 6% rate your monthly payment would be $2,398 (not including taxes and fees). At a 7% rate, however, you would pay $263 more each month.
Minimum Credit Score for Mortgage Qualification
What credit score do you need to qualify for a mortgage at all? The exact score you’ll need depends on the loan program, but typically, you can qualify for most mortgages with a 620 credit score or higher.
Some loan programs, particularly government-backed options including from the U.S. Federal Housing Administration, Agriculture Department and Department of Veterans Affairs loans, allow for lower credit scores. As Bane explains, “Those are going to be much more flexible on credit score.”
**With FHA loans, borrowers can technically have scores as low as 500.** Private lenders that make the loans can require higher scores and most do. Rocket Mortgage, for example, requires at least a 580.
“Every loan is different,” Maguire-Feltch says. “There is no single, specific credit score that will automatically qualify you for a mortgage.”
Factors Beyond Credit Score
**Your credit score plays a deciding role in what mortgage rate you get, but it is not the only factor lenders consider.** Your debt-to-income ratio—or how much of your monthly income goes toward debt payments—is also important.
Typically, lenders want your DTI to be 43% or lower (though the lower yours is, the better.)
**“A higher ratio looks more risky to lenders because it means you’d have less money left over for a mortgage payment, after other monthly debt obligations are met,”** Maguire-Feltch says.
The size of your down payment also factors in. Larger down payments mean the lender has less on the line if you fail to make your payments, so they often give a lower rate. Smaller down payments increase the lender’s risk and can do the opposite.
Finally, the lender you choose matters, too. Because every company has its own operational capacity, profit margins and other unique conditions, they charge different rates and fees.
One study by Freddie Mac found that rates offered by different lenders varied by as much as 0.60 percentage points for a single borrower—the difference between a 6.4% rate and a 7% one (or about $140 a month on a $350,000 loan).
How to Check and Improve Your Credit Score
To get your credit score, check your banking or credit card dashboard if you have one. Many come with automatic credit score monitoring, allowing you to check your score at any time.
**Just keep in mind which score they’re showing you.** Technically, you’ll want your scores from the three major credit bureaus—TransUnion, Equifax and Experian—to get the most accurate picture.
“There are three scores that we look at,” Bane says. “We then take the middle score.”
If you had a TransUnion score of 730, an Equifax score of 745 and an Experian score of 715, for example, lenders would use 730—the middle of those scores—to qualify you for loan programs and set your rate.
If you’re applying with another person, including your spouse or a family member, lenders will usually take the lowest of the two middle scores between you (or, on some loans, the average of your two middle scores, if you’re on the cusp of qualifying).
If your bank only shows you one of these scores, you can purchase the others directly from the credit bureaus for a small fee. Just make sure you’re purchasing the score and not just a general credit report. Basic credit reports only include information about your accounts and payment history—not scores.
Steps to Improve Your Credit Score
There are many ways to improve your credit score—some easier than you might think. Here are a few strategies that can help:
- Make on-time payments: Avoid late payments—particularly on student loans, credit cards and other types of debts that get reported to credit bureaus. In some cases, other items, including overdue cellphone bills and utilities, will also impact your score—but not always.
- Reduce how much credit you’re using: Reduce the balances you carry on your credit lines—ideally to 30% of your total credit line or less. If you have a $10,000-limit credit card, for instance, you would want to reduce your balances to no more than $3,000.
- Avoid opening new accounts: Hard credit inquiries—which occur when a lender pulls your credit report before opening a new loan or account—go against your score. According to FICO, one inquiry usually equates to a five-point drop in credit score.
- Start early: If you want to improve your credit score before buying a house or applying for a mortgage refinance, start early—at least six to 12 months before you plan to apply.
Your credit score has a significant impact on the mortgage rate you'll be offered. Understanding this relationship and taking steps to improve your credit score can potentially save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage. Be proactive, monitor your credit score regularly, and work on improving it to secure the best possible mortgage terms.