A home is the largest purchase most Americans make in their lifetimes. The typical American home now costs over $200,000 — significantly more money than most people have on hand. This disparity means that many homeowners must take on a mortgage, which usually leaves them hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, to buy a house.
As long as the owner or owners have properly planned and budgeted their income, they should not face a severe financial burden from the debt. Yet not all Americans plan their finances correctly, and sometimes unforeseen circumstances get in the way. Just as home prices vary from state to state, so does the average mortgage debt.
To find the average mortgage debt in each state 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the 2017 State of Credit Report 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 2017 American Community Survey.
24/7 Wall St. spoke with Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at financial comparison service site Bankrate, about why some states have an average mortgage debt of less than $150,000, while others have an average debt exceeding $300,000. “Cost of living and home prices are a big factor,” McBride said. “The cost of living impacts how much you can save for something like a downpayment, and home prices impact how much you have to borrow.”
Wealthier states tend to have higher mortgage debts. All of the 10 states with the highest average mortgage debts rank among the wealthiest states in the country.