East English Village neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan
Joshua Lott—Getty Images
By Jill Krasny / Credit.com
September 9, 2016

Locking down a mortgage isn’t easy when your credit is less than stellar and you don’t have enough in the bank to make a decent down payment.

Now, an August 2016 report from the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank focused on housing and economic policy, shows certain MSAs, or metropolitan statistical areas, plunk down less cash than others when it comes to down payments.

Read: The Biggest Mortgage Mistake Consumers Make

Speaking by phone, Bing Bai, a research associate with the Urban Institute, said the numbers were calculated from CoreLogic, a research firm with information on mortgage servicing throughout the U.S. Then, focusing on the period between May 1 and May 31 of this year, he crunched the data to find the mean origination FICO score for each MSA. (No idea what FICO stands for? You can read up on the credit-scoring model here.) He also determined each MSA’s LTV, or loan-to-value (i.e., how much of a downpayment they made compared to the price of a house), in order to see just how low those down payments really were (the higher the LTV, the lower the down payment. For example, a borrower taking on a $70,500 mortgage to purchase a home appraised at $100,000 would have an LTV ratio of 70.50%.) Ultimately, he was able to identify the cities with lower FICO scores and lower down payments, which also tend to be cities that are struggling economically.

Read: What Happens To Your Credit Score When You Buy a House

“What you’re seeing is a reflection of the lower economy,” said Sheryl Pardo, spokesperson for the institute. She adds that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) “is an important player in those local communities,” because it is helping people get into housing in these challenged areas. “Economically, FHA is king. That’s who’s helping people get on the ladder to homeownership,” she says.

If you’re considering applying for a mortgage, it helps to know where your credit stands before you begin the process. That’s because your credit scores help determine what types of rates and terms you may qualify for.

Read: 10 Places Where You Can Buy a Condo For Under $100,000

Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, Michigan

  • Average FICO Score: 728
  • Average Loan-to-Value: 90%

Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Florida

  • Average FICO Score: 732
  • Average Loan-to-Value: 84%

Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio

  • Average FICO Score: 733
  • Average Loan-to-Value: 88%

Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nevada

  • Average FICO Score: 735
  • Average Loan-to-Value: 88%

San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas

  • Average FICO Score: 736
  • Average Loan-to-Value: 90%

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas

  • Average FICO Score: 736
  • Average Loan-to-Value: 86%

Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN

  • Average FICO Score: 736
  • Average Loan-to-Value: 89%

Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida

  • Average FICO Score: 738
  • Average Loan-to-Value: 87%

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California

  • Average FICO Score: 738
  • Average Loan-to-Value: 83%

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Georgia

  • Average FICO Score: 738
  • Average Loan-to-Value: 87%

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