Average credit scores for U.S. consumers fell two points during the third quarter ended Sept. 30, and the decline was much sharper in certain regions in the South, according to data released by Credit Karma this week.
The average credit score among U.S. consumers at the end of September was 666, down from 668 at the end of June, the firm said.
Results varied in different regions. South Carolina posted the steepest decline, dropping six points, to 643 from 649. Average credit scores in Massachusetts held steady at 685, the highest average credit score among all other states for the period.
Certain cities posted higher-than-average credit-score declines during the quarter. In Houston, average credit score at the end of September dropped five points, to 662 from 667 at the end of June, while the average credit score in San Diego dropped four points, to 686 from 690. Average credit scores in Chicago declined three points, to 676 from 679.
“Unfortunately, credit scores continue to decline. However, the data suggest consumers remain focused on reducing their debt,” Ken Lin, Credit Karma CEO, said in a statement. “If consumers continue to proactively manage their credit, we expect this trend will reverse, and credit scores will start to go up.”
Consumers’ average home-mortgage debt in September was $174,456, down 3.2% from $180,190 in January, while the average auto-loan debt was $15,122, up 2.6% from $15,186, and the average student loans were $28,425, up 7.9% from $26,337.
Consumers’ average credit card debt in September also declined 2.2%, to $7,526 from $7,694 in August, according to the San Francisco-based company, whose website tracks credit scores and household debt.