black man smiling pointing at his credit score to buy a house

Credit Score to Buy a House in Canada

Wednesday Jan 03rd, 2024


In 2023, the credit score needed to buy a house through a traditional mortgage lender was typically around 680. However, if your credit score isn't quite there yet, don't worry – there are other options available. Understanding the role of credit scores in the mortgage process is crucial for any potential homebuyer. Let's explore what you need to know about credit scores and buying a house.

Understanding Credit Scores for Mortgage Approval

buyer looking at their credit score to buy a house

1. The Ideal Credit Score Range

  • Minimum Requirement: For a traditional mortgage, lenders generally look for a minimum credit score of around 680.
  • Optimal Score: A credit score above 700 is considered ideal, offering better chances of approval and favorable interest rates.

2. Factors Influencing Your Credit Score

  • Payment History: Timely payments positively impact your score.
  • Credit Utilization: Aim to use less than 35% of your available credit.
  • Credit History Length: A longer credit history typically helps your score.
  • New Credit Inquiries: Frequent applications for new credit can lower your score.
  • Credit Mix: A diverse mix of credit types is beneficial.

3. Checking Your Credit Score

In Canada, you can obtain your credit score from Equifax Canada or TransUnion. You're entitled to one free report per year, or you can pay a fee for more frequent access.

How Credit Scores Affect Your Mortgage

person in cafe with computer in front of them and holding a phone in the other checking their credit score to buy a house and how it can affect their mortgage

1. Impact on Mortgage Terms

A high credit score typically reflects a low-risk profile to lenders. This leads to better interest rates and more favorable terms. This can significantly reduce the overall cost of your mortgage over time.

On the other hand, a lower credit score is often seen as a high-risk profile. This might result in higher interest rates. The increase in rates can lead to a substantial rise in the overall costs associated with your mortgage. See how your credit score affects your mortgage using our mortgage calculator.

2. Other Considerations for Lenders

  • Debt-to-Income Ratio: A lower ratio is favorable.
  • Loan Amount: Higher loans carry more risk.
  • Property Purpose and Type: The intended use and type of property can influence approval.
  • Employment History: Stable employment is a positive factor.
  • Monthly Housing Costs: Includes potential mortgage, taxes, utilities, and fees.
  • Debt Load: Existing debts like credit cards and loans.
  • Stress Test Results: Ability to afford mortgage payments at higher interest rates.

Options for Those with Lower Credit Scores

bad credit score graphic with person sitting on a chair wondering what options people have with low credit

1. Alternative Lenders

  • Credit Unions and Trust Companies: Often more flexible than major banks.
  • Subprime and Private Lenders: May approve higher-risk borrowers but at higher interest rates.

>> More for Mortgage Rate Comparison

2. Strategies for Approval

  • Larger Down Payment: Increases your equity and reduces risk.
  • Joint Mortgages or Co-signers: Adds financial stability to your application.

3. Improving Your Credit Score

  • Debt Reduction: Paying down existing debts can improve your score.
  • Credit Building: Responsible use of credit over time enhances your credit profile.


Understanding your credit score is a vital step in the home-buying process. While a score of 680 or higher is ideal for traditional mortgage lenders, there are options for those with lower scores. Focus on improving your credit health and exploring alternative lending options. You can increase your chances of mortgage approval and move closer to buying your dream home!

Are you looking to live in Oakville, Burlington or Milton? Jamie Vieira and Associates, specializing in the Halton region, have spent most, if not all, of their lives in the area. Begin your journey by applying for a mortgage with us. We're here to connect you with the ideal mortgage lender to suit your specific needs!

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