Household debt levels in the United States have nearly returned to where they were before the recession — meaning more people have saved for down payments and more are qualifying for loans. A home purchase, a rite of passage in America, is frequently the largest source of debt among U.S. households. Despite skyrocketing student debt levels in recent years, mortgages remain the largest household debt source, representing 68% of all debt in the country.
For Americans with a home loan, the average mortgage debt is $196,000. Depending largely on income levels, average mortgage debt varies considerably between states. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the average mortgage debt in each state using data from Experian, one of the three national consumer reporting agencies.
The states with the highest mortgage debt levels, while home to more affluent families, also tend to have lower homeownership rates. This suggests lower access to mortgages and less affordable housing markets. By contrast, the states with the lowest mortgage debt levels, while often the same states with among the lowest household incomes, are generally home to more affordable housing markets.
Not only is the likelihood of owning a home higher in states with lower mortgage debt, but larger shares of homeowners in these states own their homes outright. Of the 25 states with below-average mortgage debt levels, all but four have above-average shares of owner-occupied homes without a mortgage.
To determine the states with the most mortgage debt, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed average mortgage debt in each state from the 2016 State of Credit Report published by Experian, a consumer reporting agency. Figures for median home value, median household income, homeownership rates, and the share of owner-occupied households with a mortgage come from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Consumer Survey.