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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Credit scores of the 5 richest neighborhoods in America

Wealthiest U.S. counties
The Northeastern Atlantic U.S. is the wealthiest part of the country by income
By Michael Bratton

A credit score is a number a credit agency assigns to individuals that lenders use to determine risk for repaying loans and credit card debt. According to Spendonlife.com, a website that helps educate consumers about personal finance and credit, credit scores range from 349 to 849. The higher your credit score the more likely you are to secure low-interest bank loans, credit cards and other financial products.

Recently, Spendonlife.com compiled data on five zip codes in the U.S. with the highest credit scores and five zip codes with the lowest. Interestingly, the cities with the lowest scores are in landlocked southern or Midwestern states while the top five are exclusively coastal. To give you some context on where the five most affluent zip codes stand, the average credit score for the entire U.S. population is 683 and the average income per return $55,019.

1. Weston, MA, 02493

Weston, MA, with a population of about 11,787, is located just over 15 miles west of Boston. The average credit score in Boston's wealthiest suburb is 715 with a combined average income of $400,022. Included on CNNMoney's list of America’s best small towns and "Best Places to Live" in 2011, credit card debt in Weston is $1,540, auto debt is $14,854 and the average mortgage balance is $298,028.

2. West Atherton, CA, 94027

A San Francisco Bay Area city located less than five miles northeast of Silicon Valley, West Atherton has a population of about 7,000 residents. With an average credit score of 708, West Atherton has the second-highest credit score in the country. Included on a CNNMoney list of neighborhoods with the highest percentage of million dollar homes, the average mortgage balance is $518,706, average credit card debt is $2,554 - the highest on this list - and average auto debt of $18,224.

3. Greenwich, CT, 06831

Greenwich, CT is an affluent suburb situated just 37 miles north of New York City. With a population of just over 15,000, Greenwich has the third-highest average credit score in the country at 702 and average income of $414,686. This Fairfield county town, which Money magazine ranked number-two in its 2012 "Biggest Earner" category, in part for being home to several financial service companies, has an average credit card debt of $1,856 and auto debt of $16,607. The mortgage balance in Greenwich comes to about $425.887.

4. Palm Beach, FL, 33480

Palm Beach, FL, located 65 miles north of Miami, has the fourth highest average credit score in the U.S. at 691 and average income of $457,517. Originally established as a resort town, thanks to its tropical climate and miles of stunning coastline, residents on this 16-mile long barrier island have an average credit card debt of $1,449 while auto debt averages $16,494. The mortgage balance of Palm Beach’s roughly 10,000 yearly residents averages $314,165.

5. Los Angeles, CA, 90067

Known for being the entertainment capitol of the world, Los Angeles has the fifth highest average credit score in the U.S., at 685. The average income in this west coast paradise is $546,627. Compared to the country's other wealthiest zip codes, L.A. has the second highest average credit card debt at $2,112. But where they falter in debt, they make up for in income with an average income per return of $546,672, making the City of Angels the number-one earner on this list. Auto debt in L.A. averages $19,264 and the average mortgage balance is $407,998.

While the income disparity between the richest and poorest neighborhoods in the country is staggering - the bottom earner of the top five is $400,922 for Weston, MA, and the top average income of the bottom five is $13,951 for San Antonio, TX - the average credit score for wealthiest five zip codes is 700 compared to 676 for the poorest five zip codes. However, since credit score is just one consideration lenders evaluate in a potential borrower's financial profile, clearly those at the top five are in a much more advantageous position when purchasing a home, applying for financing, buying a car and making other big-ticket purchases and loan requests.

About the author: The author of this article is Michael Bratton, PR Director of Best Credit Repair Companies.

Image license: Vikjam, CC BY-SA 3.0


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