Mortgage debt reaches new high; D.C. homeowners claim the most

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

Mortgage debt on the rise

American mortgage debt has officially reached a new high. According to recent data, Americans now hold more than $9 trillion in mortgage balances — up around $1 trillion from just three years ago.

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Where mortgage debt is highest

According to new data from credit bureau Experian, Americans have a whopping $9.5 trillion in mortgage debt. That’s up from $8.5 trillion in 2016 and well above the peaks reached during the housing crisis.

The average mortgage balance is just over $202,000 per household — up from $184,000 in 2015.

Washington, D.C., homeowners have the most in mortgage balances, with nearly $417,000 per household. California came in next, with an average debt of $363,537, and Hawaii took third at $344,819.

Home equity rises again — except in these two states

The lowest debts are seen in West Virginia (just $110,158), Indiana ($120,354), Mississippi ($121,608), Ohio ($122,765)  and Kentucky ($126,310).

Homebuyers in these states enjoy the lowest mortgage rates

Debt is up, but is it cause for concern?

The sky-high numbers aren’t necessarily a reason to worry. As Matt Tatham, data analyst at Experian, explains,” While mortgage debt numbers could be a cause for concern as buyers increasingly leverage their finances to purchases homes, other signs show they are more responsible with their mortgage debt than in years past.”

This responsibility is obvious when you look at recent delinquency rates. CoreLogic’s most recent loan performance insights report shows that just 3.6 percent of homeowners were behind on their mortgages in April. That’s the lowest national delinquency rate in over two decades.

Experian’s data shows 30 to 59-day delinquencies are down 9 percent over the last three year, while 60 to 89-day and 90 to 180-day delinquencies are down 23 percent and 36 percent, respectively.

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