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Mr A

Understanding Credit Scores

Before diving into the details of what credit score is needed to buy a house in the UK, let's first understand what makes up a credit score. In the United Kingdom, credit reference agencies, such as Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, gather and hold information about an individual's borrowing and payment history. This information is used by the agencies to calculate a credit score, which can range from 0 to 1000+ depending on the agency.

A credit score is a numerical representation of your creditworthiness or the likelihood of you repaying your debts on time. Lenders, such as banks, mortgage companies, and finance providers, use this credit score to decide whether or not to approve your loan application for a mortgage.

Factors Influencing Your Credit Score

Knowing the factors that influence your credit score can help you improve it, making it easier for you to secure a mortgage to buy a house. Some of these factors include:

Payment History

This makes up the largest portion of your credit score, as it considers whether you have paid your past credit accounts on time. Late or missed payments, defaults, County Court Judgments (CCJs), and bankruptcies can negatively impact your credit score.

Credit Utilization

This is the percentage of available credit currently being used on your credit cards and lines of credit. High credit utilization can indicate that you are over-reliant on credit and may struggle to manage your debts, which, in turn, lowers your credit score.

Length of Credit History

A longer credit history with a good track record of repaying debts on time can improve your credit score. This shows that you have experience managing credit responsibly.

Credit Mix

Lenders prefer to see a mix of different types of credits on your credit report, like installment loans, credit cards, and mortgages. This demonstrates that you can handle different types of credit, positively impacting your credit score.

New Credit Applications

Applying for multiple lines of credit in a short period can negatively impact your credit score. Lenders may view this as a sign of financial distress, thinking you may struggle to meet your repayment commitments.

Credit Score Ranges

Different credit reference agencies use different systems to calculate credit scores. Here are the credit score ranges for Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion:


  • Very Poor: 0 – 560
  • Poor: 561 – 720
  • Fair: 721 – 880
  • Good: 881 – 960
  • Excellent: 961 – 999


  • Very Poor: 0 – 279
  • Poor: 280 – 379
  • Fair: 380 – 419
  • Good: 420 – 465
  • Excellent: 466 – 700


  • Very Poor: 0 – 550
  • Poor: 551 – 565
  • Fair: 566 – 603
  • Good: 604 – 627
  • Excellent: 628 – 710

It is important to remember that each lender may use a different credit reference agency or even have their own specific requirements when assessing your mortgage application.

What Credit Score is Needed to Buy a House in the UK?

There isn't a single "magic number" when it comes to the credit score needed to buy a house in the UK. Mortgage lenders take many factors into consideration when deciding whether to approve your application, and your credit score is just one aspect of it. However, having a higher credit score generally increases your chances of being approved for a mortgage at more competitive interest rates.

Prime Mortgages

A prime mortgage refers to loans offered at mainstream interest rates and terms, and are available to borrowers with good or excellent credit scores. To qualify for a prime mortgage, you should aim for a credit score in the "Good" or "Excellent" range, as outlined by the credit reference agencies above.

Subprime Mortgages

A subprime mortgage is designed for borrowers with less-than-perfect credit or who have had difficulty obtaining a mortgage from mainstream lenders. Subprime mortgages typically come with higher interest rates and less favourable terms to account for the increased risk associated with lending to borrowers with lower credit scores.

If your credit score falls in the "Fair" range, you may still be able to get a mortgage, but the terms may not be as favourable. Even those with "Poor" or "Very Poor" credit ratings may be able to find a lender, although it might be more challenging, and the interest rates and fees are likely to be higher.

Improving Your Credit Score

If you find that your credit score is not within the desired range or you want to improve it to better the chances of being approved for a mortgage with favourable terms, consider adopting the following strategies:

  • Pay bills on time: Set up direct debits or reminders to ensure that you make all your payments on time. This includes utilities, rent, and credit card payments.
  • Pay down your debts: Aim to pay off outstanding balances on your debts, especially high-interest ones like credit cards, personal loans, or overdrafts.
  • Maintain low credit utilization: Try to keep your credit utilization below 30% on all of your credit cards to show that you can manage credit responsibly.
  • Avoid applying for multiple credit lines: Each time you apply for credit, it counts as a hard inquiry on your credit report, which can lower your score. Limit your credit applications to only those that are necessary.
  • Check your credit report regularly: Get a copy of your credit report from each of the credit reference agencies to make sure it is accurate and up-to-date. Dispute any errors or discrepancies you find.
  • Register on the electoral roll: This helps lenders verify your identity and address, making you a more reliable borrower. It's a simple way to improve your credit score.


While there isn't a specific credit score needed to buy a house in the UK, it's important to have a good or excellent credit score to increase your chances of being approved for a mortgage and getting better interest rates. It's a good idea to check your credit score with the main credit reference agencies and work on improving it if necessary. By adopting responsible financial habits and addressing any issues in your credit history, you can improve your credit scoring and put yourself in a better position to buy a house in the UK.

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