Bay Area renters need higher credit scores than in many other U.S. regions

Bay City News
Saturday, November 11, 2017
FILE - This April 6, 2011 file photo shows a "For Rent" sign in front of a home in Los Angeles.
FILE - This April 6, 2011 file photo shows a "For Rent" sign in front of a home in Los Angeles.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Cities such as San Francisco with some of the highest rents in the nation are also places where renters need to have a high credit score to move in, according to a study released Friday.

The average credit score for people who successfully leased an apartment in 2017 in San Francisco was 724, compared with the nationwide average of 650, according to a study from RentCafe, an internet apartment listing service.

The results are based on tenant screening data from RentGrow, a residential screening service for property owners and managers.

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Approved renters in San Francisco had the second highest credit scores in the nation behind only Boston, who had an average score of 737.

But while credit scores are important, San Francisco realtor Mary Fenton with Sotheby's International Realty said that credit scores are not the only factor in getting approved for an apartment.

"You can't look at it in a vacuum," she said of the credit score.

Income, stability of employment and verification of employment as well as the credit score are the main factors property owners look at when deciding to lease to someone, Fenton said.

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Renters in Oakland with approved leases in 2017 had an average credit score of 707, the fifth highest score among competitive U.S. markets behind Seattle at No. 3 and Minneapolis at No. 4.

The average credit score for approved renters nationwide is up 12 points from 638 in 2014.