Minimum FHA Credit Score Requirement Falls 60 Points

October 11, 2018 - 3 min read

Minimum FHA Credit Score For Home Loan

The minimum FHA credit score for a home loan is 500, however, it’s possible to get a mortgage loan with no credit score at all. Lenders can check “non-traditional” credit sources and build a credit report if you don’t have enough accounts to generate a score.

VA home loans require no minimum credit score, FHA minimums range from 500 to 580, USDA loans have a FICO floor of 640, and conforming loans require a minimum credit score of 620.

Exceptions can be made to minimum credit score policies for borrowers with reasonable cause.

FHA Credit Score Requirement Drops 60 Points

It’s getting easier for borrowers to get an FHA-backed home loan.

Major lenders will now approve 96.5 percent FHA mortgage applications for borrowers with FICO scores of 580. It marks a 60-point improvement over previous years, when FHA lenders required 640 FICO scores or better to get approved.

The news comes at a time when FHA loans are in demand.

The program’s 3.5% downpayment minimum is among the most lenient for today’s home buyers; and underwriting requirements on an are flexible and forgiving.

FHA loans account for close to one-quarter of all loans closed today.

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FHA Loans Allow 3.5% Down Payment

FHA loans are an important component of the U.S. housing and mortgage market.

FHA loans are loans which are insured by the Federal Housing Administration and made available to U.S. buyers and existing homeowners.

The FHA was formed in 1934 and it exists to provide affordable housing to Americans. Today, it’s the largest insurer of mortgage loans worldwide.

The Federal Housing Administration doesn’t actually make loans. Rather, it insures loans made by the nation’s banks, providing protection against default and loss.

In order to gain the FHA’s protection, lenders must only make sure that the loan in question meets the lending standards as set forth by the FHA.

The FHA’s rulebook is known as the “FHA guidelines” and it describes all allowable loan traits, as well as the going terms of a Federal Housing Administration-backed loan.

For example, FHA guidelines state that home buyers must make a minimum down payment of 3.5 percent against a home’s purchase price; and that buyers can be cleared to buy a home .

Guidelines also place limits on the size of an FHA-backed loan, which varies by county.

FHA loan limits range from $ for a single-family home to $ for a 4-unit home.

Fewer FHA “Investor Overlays” Means More Approvals

FHA mortgage guidelines define which loans the Federal Housing Administration will, and will not, insure. However, U.S. lenders don’t underwrite loans to the FHA guidelines as they’re written, to the letter.

Lenders impose additional restrictions known as which make it harder for an applicant to qualified for an FHA-backed loan.

One such overlay is linked to the FHA Streamline Refinance.

According to the official FHA guidelines, with an , lenders are not required to verify income, employment or credit scores. Yet, many lenders choose to verify regardless.

This is because the FHA penalizes banks for making too many “bad loans” and verifications can cut down on defaults.

Another important overlay is linked to your credit score.

The FHA rules state that it will insure home loans for which the borrower has a credit score of 500 or higher. Banks, however, are reluctant to make such loans.

Buyers with credit scores of 500 are highly likely to default in the next 6 months, which would negatively affect a bank’s FHA default rate, leading to fines, penalties, and perhaps, termination from the FHA insurance program.

Beginning in late-2011, most banks enforced a minimum credit score for FHA loans of 640. That minimum score has since been lowered.

U.S. home buyers can now get an FHA loan with credit scores of just 580.

Furthermore, with the domestic economy improving and U.S. housing expanding, it’s not unexpected that minimum FHA FICOs would drop again soon.

What Are Today’s Mortgage Rates?

For today’s U.S. home buyers, the Federal Housing Administration mortgage is among the most lenient and forgiving mortgage programs available. Find out whether you’re FHA-eligible.

Get today’s live mortgage rates now. Your social security number is not required to get started, and all quotes come with access to your live mortgage credit scores.

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Gina Freeman
Authored By: Gina Freeman
The Mortgage Reports contributor
With more than 10 years in the mortgage industry, and another 10 years writing about it, Gina Freeman brings a wealth of knowledge to The Mortgage Reports as its Associate Editor. Gina works with a team of world-class real estate and finance writers to bring timely and helpful news and advice to the audience. Her specialty is helping consumers understand complex and intimidating topics.