The Dallas market, on average, has the LOWEST credit score across the country at 650. Houston is second with 652. The average across the country is 678. The average for Dallas used to be 635 a few years ago so we've definetly improved since then... but maybe it's because of all the relocation coming into the area with their good credit.
Minneapolis and Boston are #1 and 2 with 705 and 704 respectfully. Then, DC takes the #3 spot with a sizable jump down to 691.
I think being ranked the lowest is an important factor in our appreciation levels, or lack there of. People don't have the money to afford more house, and until salaries increase and people can actually pay their bills on time and raise their credit scores, they're going to get higher rates and lower priced homes.
There are several things you can do to raise your credit score.
- The most important is to pay your bills on time, even if it's just the minimum. Each 30 day late lowers your score that much more.
- Also important is to keep under a 50% balance on your credit cards. If your cards are max'd out, but you pay your minimum on time each month, they don't care because your balance is too high and you're a higher risk to continue to charge things and pay them off. If you're allowed a $1000 balance, stay under $450 or there abouts.
- If you don't have a credit card, get one, but maybe start with a secured credit card. A department store card doesn't look as favorable so it doesn't help your score like a Visa or Master Card would.
- Do not close credit card acccounts that you're not using. Credit history is very important and if you've had that card for multiple years, that looks really good as revolving credit. You might want to buyer dinner with it every now and then and pay it off, but it's not necessary. Just holding the account open will increase your scores.
There are many other things that can be done, but without seeing what we're looking at, the above are tips I've learned over the years. If you're curious about more of the metro areas and how they rank, you can see the list here.