ClearScore is the home to over 450,000 Aussies and 15 million users worldwide. With most of the country in lockdown we thought this was a good opportunity to explore how credit scores vary around Australia. Unsurprisingly the richest suburbs, those most likely to have the means to pay off their credit cards and home loans, tend to have much higher scores.
We looked at credit scores in our userbase by a measure called Statistical Area 3 that groups suburbs and regions into 50,000 to 100,000 people. These are fairly small areas in cities like Sydney – a few suburbs at most – but can be massive regions in our large continent covering areas like the entire Top End of Queensland. Here’s what we found out.
Sydney suburbs accounts for half of the top 10 regions for credit scores in Australia. These were all suburbs in the Northern Suburbs. Ku-ring-gai SA3 came out on top with a score of 761 on average. This area includes wealthy suburbs such as East Lindfield where the average sale price of a home is $3,370,000. The other areas were Pennant Hills, Dural, North Sydney – Mosman and Chatswood – Lane Cove. Average house prices in these areas were all above $1 million with Mosman topping the table at $4,562,000. These suburbs also have some of the highest average incomes in the country. According to 2019 ATO data, individuals in these 5 areas earned in the region of $100,000, well above the national average.
Other entries in the top 10 included two areas from South Australia: the Eastern suburbs around Burnside and the Southern suburbs around Mitcham. Both of these areas are outliers in that they are the only two areas with house prices under $1m in the top 10 – Adelaide has the lowest median house price of any capital city in Australia bar Darwin.
Western Australia had one entry in the top 10, which was the areas around the beach suburb of Cottesloe where a house overlooking the wonderful sunsets will set you back $2,500,000 on average.
Victoria underperformed relative to NSW with only 2 areas in the top 10 for credit scores, both from Melbourne. This included the area of Bayside comprising of Brighton and surrounding coastal suburbs and the suburbs of Stonnington directly east of central Melbourne. Both areas are famous for high house prices with Brighton averaging $3,150,000 and incomes above $100,000 per individual.
Top 10 Areas
Average credit score
Pennant Hills - Epping (NSW)
Dural - Wisemans Ferry (NSW)
Stonnington - East (VIC)
North Sydney - Mosman (NSW)
Chatswood - Lane Cove (NSW)
Cottesloe - Claremont (WA)
If the story of the top 10 is mainly one of rich inner city suburbs, the areas with the lowest credit scores represent the full contrast of life in Australia. Broken Hill, Bourke and Moree in rural NSW had scores between 625 and 630, over 100 points less than scores in the top suburbs. These areas have average incomes less than half of the rich NSW suburbs and house prices in Bourke ($107,500) and Broken Hill ($135,000) are at levels most Sydneysiders would assume are missing a zero.
Some of the lower credit score areas are city suburbs associated with lower incomes. This includes Mount Druitt in Sydney and Port Kembla, south of Wollongong, as well as Playford in the north of Adelaide including suburbs like Elizabeth and Springfield (reportedly named after the Simpsons) in southern Brisbane. All of these suburbs have average income around the $50,000 level- a challenge to make ends meet when living in expensive cities. This probably accounts for a fair amount of the credit score differences. It could be that people are likely to miss a few payments, maybe even default when income is low and the cushion of wealth is not there in case of an unforeseen event.
Rounding out the top 10 are some of the areas including the most beautiful corners of Australia. Kimberly in WA including Broome, and two vast regions of Queensland including Outback North and the Far North including Cairns.
All of these areas have credit scores in the 640s and below. These credit scores imply that many people in these areas will struggle to get access to credit or get access to the best rates. These scores also correlate strongly will income and wealth differences of these areas.
Bottom 10 Areas
Average credit score
Mount Duritt (NSW)
Springwood - Kingston (QLD)
Moree - Narrabri (NSW)
Far North (QLD)
Outback - North (QLD)
Dapto - Port Kembla (NSW)
Bourke - Cobar - Coonamble (NSW)
Broken Hill and Far West (NSW)
Fortunately, though, your credit score is not a reflection of your income or wealth but a record of how you have handled credit first and foremost. Irrespective of where you live, you can work to get a score that gets you access to the best credit offers.through ClearScore and see how you fair in your suburb.
Interested in how Victoria stacks up against the other states? Check out other articles below: