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While housing market competition remains stiff with issues of demand and affordability affecting potential homeowners, some cities stand out as having less-tight competition among buyers.

Competition is considered lowest in markets where less than 40% of home shoppers have prime credit scores, a majority of buyers do not apply for a mortgage before house hunting, and where the average borrower has a down payment of 12% or less. For comparison, in markets with the highest competition, up to 64% of buyers have prime credit scores.

While cities where borrowers don't necessarily have good credit scores may present more challenges for lenders, they are more accessible to buyers, meaning home shoppers will have a better shot at securing homes in these areas.

Cities like Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Birmingham, Alabama, made the list of markets with the fewest number of prime borrowers, as only 39% of house hunters have prime credit scores in these areas. By comparison, the city with the lowest overall share of buyers with prime credit includes only 35% of prospective homeowners.

Little Rock, Arkansas, rounds of the list in the 10th spot, having 40% of buyers with prime credit scores.

Here's a look at 10 cities where the fewest house hunters have prime credit. The data, from LendingTree, ranks the top 100 largest cities based on the percent of home shoppers with prime credit that used its site in 2017. Ties were broken by share of consumers that shopped for a mortgage before identifying a house, and then by the percentage of the average down payment.

Also check out 10 housing markets with the most prime credit borrowers.


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