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The US Cities Where It's Easiest to Get a Mortgage

Esther Trattner
The US Cities Where It's Easiest to Get a Mortgage

Mortgage rates have fallen in 2019 to some of the lowest levels in years, and lenders have found themselves flooded with applications for mortgages to buy homes or refinance existing home loans.

And, to the relief of homebuyers and homeowners, lenders have been in a very approving mood. An analysis from LendingTree has found just 9.8% of mortgage applications are being turned down — the lowest denial rate in at least 15 years.

Here, we count down the cities across America with the lowest rates of rejection, meaning they're the easiest places to land a mortgage.

25. Buffalo, New York

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View of Buffalo's spring colors

Buffalo, home of the NFL's Bills and the birthplace of Buffalo wings (where else?), is dotted with cute, walkable neighborhoods and revamped industrial areas with a trendy Brooklyn air.

Local lenders turn down only 6.9% of mortgages in this city just across the Peace Bridge from Canada. Borrowers are most often rejected for having too much debt in relation to their income.

24. Chicago

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View of Chicago downtown at twilight

Many of Chicago’s neighborhood are being revitalized, with luxury condos and Michelin-starred restaurants popping up between legendary deep-dish pizza spots like Giordano's and Lou Malnati's. (Can’t we love both?)

In Chi-Town, just 6.6% of hopeful homebuyers are turned down for mortgages, mostly due to their ratio of debt to income.

Take a look at today's best mortgage rates in your city.

23. Dallas

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Dallas at sunset

These days, Dallas is equal parts famous for its NFL Cowboys, its status as the birthplace of the frozen margarita machine — and its piping hot real estate market.

Here, 6.6% of mortgages are denied. The most common reason applications are tossed out is that borrowers' debt-to-income ratios are too high.

22. Memphis, Tennessee

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Memphis' musical center, Beale Street

This city known for blues and barbecue is looking mighty attractive for homebuyers thanks to a strong local economy, stable real estate market and low cost of living.

Only 6.6% of potential buyers’ mortgage applications are denied in Memphis. The main reason cited for denials is applicants' credit history.

21. Philadelphia

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Philadelphia's downtown skyline

Today, more people than ever are moving to Philadelphia, the historic city beloved for its heart-wrenchingly good cheesesteaks, pretzels and beer.

In addition to contending with mobs converging on open houses every weekend, 6.6% of homebuyers will not be able to secure a mortgage on the first try. Lenders most often say no due to people having too much debt relative to their income.

20. Pittsburgh

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Pittsburgh, the City of Bridges

In Pittsburgh, cheering for the Steelers is a way of life, Pittsburghese is the legendary local lingo, and housing from dahntahn to the 'burbs is priced below the U.S. average.

A modest 6.6% of applicants are denied mortgages, mainly due to how much debt they have in comparison to their incomes.

19. Cincinnati

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Cincinnati's Roebling Suspension Bridge

Cincinnati’s infamous Mediterranean-inspired chili can be hit or miss, even with residents (is there cinnamon in that?) — but the spectacular Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is an unquestionable source of pride.

Folks looking to buy property here can expect to pay less than in major coastal cities — and 6.5% of them will have their mortgage applications denied. This is most often due to people’s debt-to-income ratios.

18. Columbus, Ohio

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Downtown Columbus viewed from one of its many green parks

When fun-loving Ohio State fans in Columbus aren’t busy enjoying college football (GO BUCKS!), they can proudly state they have one of the hottest real estate markets in the country.

LendingTree says 6.5% of potential homebuyers here are not approved for their mortgages, mostly due to the amount of debt they carry compared to how much they earn.

Compare mortgage rates where you live.

17. Cleveland

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The iconic "Cleveland" sign at Lake Erie Edgewater park

Cleveland is a cultural melting pot with a kickin’ food scene and world-famous museums, including the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's. Here, the typical home costs about one-quarter of the national average, at just $59,000, says Zillow.

Lenders turn down 6.5% of mortgage applicants — primarily due to how much debt they have in relation to their incomes.

16. Nashville, Tennessee

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The full-scale Parthenon replica in Nashville

Nashville — the center of the country music universe — is home to the only full-scale replica of the ancient Greek Parthenon and has another of the fastest-growing housing markets in the U.S.

Getting a mortgage here is relatively easy, with just 6.4% of applications denied. Most denials cite applicants’ excessive debt compared to their earnings.

15. Milwaukee

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Milwaukee has nearly 200 years of brewing history and is beloved for its fantastic outdoor pursuits and festivals. There are so many of those that Milwaukee has been dubbed the "City of Festivals."

Lenders reject only 6.2% of would-be homebuyers, often saying that they have too much debt in relation to their earnings.

14. Phoenix

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Phoenix's stunning Papago Park after sunset

Phoenix has many claims to fame, including unique Southwestern architecture, stunning natural wonders and delicious Tex-Mex food. Supposedly, it's the spot where the delectable chimichanga was invented.

People who want a mortgage are most often rejected for their debt-to-income ratio, with 6.1% of applications getting turned down.

13. Baltimore

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Baltimore's Inner Harbor at dusk

Baltimore’s pretty harbor, interesting neighborhoods and to-die-for crab cakes are beloved by current and former celebrity homeowners, like Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps.

Though many would like to buy one of Charm City’s picturesque historic homes, 6.1% will have their mortgage applications denied. The main reason: having too much debt in relation to their income.

12. Indianapolis

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The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in Indianapolis

For residents, Indianapolis strikes the perfect balance of recreational trails, big-city living and world-class sports and entertainment — like the thrilling Indianapolis 500 car race.

Here, 6% of mortgage-seekers are rejected, most often due to their debt-to-income ratio.

11. Seattle

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Seattle has stunning views of Mt. Rainier

Nestled between the Cascade Mountains and an ocean inlet, Seattle is celebrated for its natural beauty, coffee and tech innovation.

It’s easier to be approved for a mortgage here. Only 6% of applicants are denied, typically because of their debt load relative to their incomes.

10. Raleigh, North Carolina

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Raleigh skyline with crepe myrtle trees in bloom

Known for its leading research institutions and towering oaks, Raleigh is a lovely place to raise a family. And it's relatively easy to get a mortgage and buy a home here.

An estimated 5.8% of mortgage applicants are rejected — mostly because of their debt-to-income ratios.

9. Richmond, Virginia

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Virginia's State Capitol Building

Virginia’s state capital is a treasure trove of American history — and ranks as the No. 2 city in the nation for the fastest relative growth of the local millennial population, say real estate analysts at RCLCO.

A low 5.8% of mortgage seekers are turned away, with too much debt in relation to income often cited as the reason.

8. Boston

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The Boston Public Garden is part of the city's great outdoor lifestyle

Boston is a history hotbed with renowned hospitals and a supremely walkable lifestyle — hence why its residents were named the seventh fittest in America, according to the American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation.

The biggest hurdle to getting a mortgage here is a homebuyer's ratio of income to debt, with 5.8% of applications getting tossed out.

7. St. Louis

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St. Louis skyline with the Gateway Arch and river views

St. Louis’ views of the Mississippi River are legendary, as are the region’s blues music and drool-worthy grilled barbecue ribs.

Here, 5.7% of mortgage seekers are rejected, with lenders citing too much debt compared to applicants' income.

6. Washington, D.C.

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All roads in Washington lead to the US Capitol Building

America’s capital is home not only to the White House and nation's Capitol, but it’s also got the oldest fish market and second-busiest subway system in the U.S.

Potential homebuyers are denied mortgages at a rate of 5.7%, nearly always for having too much debt and not enough income.

5. Portland, Oregon

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Portland with Mt. Hood in the distance

Bounded by rivers and mountains, pretty Portland is a paradise of microbreweries, independent coffee shops and lively local arts.

The odds of getting a mortgage are better here, with applicants rejected only 5.5% of the time, and almost always for their debt-to-income ratios.

4. Virginia Beach, Virginia

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Virginia Beach Fishing Pier and Boardwalk,

Virginia Beach’s beautiful oceanfront, relaxed lifestyle and family-friendliness may reasons for its ranking as the city with the country's fastest inflow of millennials, says RCLCO.

Just 5.2% of mortgage applications are denied in this city, with the biggest reason being applicants’ high ratios of debt to their earnings.

3. Kansas City, Missouri

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Kansas City's Union Station and its fountain

Kansas City is celebrated for its unique local barbecue, its majestic fountains and its jazz heritage.

It's a city with some of the lowest mortgage rejections nationwide, with only 4.9% of applications denied. Lenders most often cite debt-to-income ratio as the reason for rejection.

2. Salt Lake City

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Downtown Salt Lake City skyline

Set against a jaw-dropping mountainous backdrop, pretty Salt Lake City is known for its amazing skiing, renowned Sundance independent film festival and its strong Mormon community.

Buying a home is relatively easy here, with just 4.9% of applicants denied, primarily due to having too much debt relative to their earnings.

1. Minneapolis

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Minneapolis at sunset on the Mississippi river

Minneapolis and its Twin City, St. Paul, are home to a vibrant and diverse mix of culture, art and history. The cities grew by 75,000 people since 2010, driving a very hot local real estate market.

Minneapolis is the nation's easiest big city for getting a mortgage, according to the LendingTree study. Lenders deny just 4.6% of applicants — most often due to how much they carry debt in relation to their earnings.

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