By Hayley Crandall
A recent study from RENTCafé found Milwaukee has one of the lowest credit scores in the country, making it an ideal option for those with potentially unfavorable scores looking to rent.
With an average credit score of 601, Milwaukee ranks sixth on RENTCafé’s list of “Top 10 Cities with the Lowest Credit Scores for Renting in 2020,” according to the study.
These results show that it’s easier for renters to access leases in the city while also highlighting the current competitiveness of the market, Florentina Sarac, a real estate writer for RENTCafé, explained.
“Among other things, it can also be an indicator of the market’s competitiveness,” Sarac said in a statement. “Meaning that you wouldn’t need a stellar score to rent here, as you would in more competitive markets like Chicago, for example.”
Contributing to these results is Milwaukee’s population which is generally made up of younger generations, Sarac explained. Milwaukee, in general, is a preferred city for those starting their renting experience, she said, and unlike baby boomers or Generation X, Generation Z hasn’t had the time to work on their credit scores.
“As younger generations are just starting to build up their scores, in contrast with older ones that had enough time to improve theirs,” Sarac said. “This would affect the average credit score of the city, bringing it down by a few points.”
Generation Z appears to gravitate towards midwestern, “heartland” towns, another RENTCafé study found, showing the contrast between a city like Milwaukee and a city like San Francisco, which has an average credit score of 719.
“Coastal cities boast highest scores since their population is mainly made up of older generations such as baby boomers and Gen Xers who have had more time to build up their scores,” Sarac said.
The Milwaukee credit score has been decreasing over the past three years and what this exactly means for the future is hard to tell, Sarac noted. While no predictions can be set in stone, Sarac has reason to believe that the city’s average credit score may begin to creep up over time.
“If we take into consideration the high share of Gen Zers in the area, we can expect the average credit scores to get higher with time as they will gain more renting experience and therefore improve their scores,” Sarac said.
Reports like these can be useful for renters to see the current situation in their city or help to understand credit scores across the country if interested in moving, Sarac explained.
“Generally, a higher credit score would help renters get into their ideal apartment, but exactly how high that score would have to be depends on the location,” Sarac said. “People working from home and looking to move to the suburbs, for example, can find out if they have the necessary credit scores for renting in a different area.”
It also benefits younger generations to take note of credit scores in order to help them learn where they stand and what they should strive for when starting their renting life, Sarac said. Young people are coming into various opportunities to build and navigate their credit which can help in the long run.
“A good credit score is built with time and can be improved by consistently making rent payments on time and could ultimately be of help when you’d want to buy a home,” Sarac said.
The full report along with other information and studies can be found at https://www.rentcafe.com/.