The COVID-19 pandemic fueled a surge in demand among homebuyers that is only now beginning to show signs of slowing. This historic demand coincided with low borrowing costs, limited housing inventory, and labor and materials bottlenecks that have been hampering new construction. These factors have pushed home values to all time highs, forcing many buyers to take on mortgages that put them deep in debt.

According to a recent report from Experian, a consumer credit reporting company, American homeowners with a mortgage had an average unpaid balance of $229,242 in 2020. Mortgage debt can be impacted by multiple regional factors, and as a result, the amount of debt American homeowners are paying down varies considerably by state.

The Midwest has some of the most affordable housing markets in the country. In Wisconsin, for example, the typical home is worth $197,200, only 3.1 times more than the state's median household income of $64,168. Meanwhile, the affordability ratio nationwide is far higher, at 3.7-to-1.

With a favorable income-to-home value ratio, average mortgage debt is relatively low in Wisconsin. The typical homeowner with a mortgage in the state owes $160,116 in mortgage debt, less than in most states and about $69,000 below the typical homeowner with a mortgage nationwide.

All mortgage debt data used in this story from the 2020 State of Credit Report by Experian, a consumer reporting agency. Average mortgage debt is a measure of the average first mortgage balance per consumer who had an open first mortgage account. Figures for median home value, median household income, homeownership rates, and the share of owner-occupied households with a mortgage came from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2019 American Community Survey.

 

RankStateAverage mortgage debt ($)Median home value ($)Median household income ($)Homeowners with a mortgage (%)
50West Virginia128,004124,60048,85046.4
49Mississippi135,374128,20045,79249.1
48Indiana140,915156,00057,60365.2
47Ohio142,293157,20058,64262.1
46Arkansas143,066136,20048,95253.0
45Kentucky143,329151,70052,29556.9
44Iowa146,408158,90061,69159.9
43Oklahoma147,538147,00054,44954.4
42Michigan150,482169,60059,58459.3
41Missouri155,203168,00057,40960.2
40Kansas155,277163,20062,08757.9
39Nebraska156,568172,70063,22959.5
38Wisconsin160,116197,20064,16862.7
37Alabama160,341154,00051,73455.3
36Louisiana165,572172,10051,07351.7
35Maine167,615200,50058,92460.5
34Vermont172,919233,20063,00161.7
33South Dakota173,005185,00059,53355.6
32New Mexico174,292180,90051,94552.9
31Pennsylvania175,648192,60063,46359.1
30North Dakota181,930205,40064,57752.1
29South Carolina183,603179,80056,22758.0
28Tennessee184,360191,90056,07158.2
27North Carolina188,520193,20057,34163.2
26Illinois189,808209,10069,18762.4
25Georgia196,030202,50061,98064.2
24Minnesota198,039246,70074,59365.1
23Texas201,084200,40064,03456.1
22Montana206,561253,60057,15355.4
21New Hampshire208,570281,40077,93364.9
20Idaho208,645255,20060,99964.3
19Wyoming208,716235,20065,00359.2
18Delaware210,933261,70070,17665.5
17Florida214,203245,10059,22756.3
16Rhode Island217,019283,00071,16966.3
15Arizona229,332255,90062,05562.4
14Alaska244,840281,20075,46360.8
13Connecticut247,241280,70078,83366.2
12Nevada253,602317,80063,27667.4
11Utah258,635330,30075,78070.1
10Oregon261,147354,60067,05866.1
9Virginia269,570288,80076,45667.7
8New Jersey270,329348,80085,75165.6
7Maryland274,311332,50086,73871.9
6New York274,349338,70072,10859.6
5Massachusetts292,513418,60085,84368.3
4Colorado297,813394,60077,12770.8
3Washington307,407387,60078,68767.7
2Hawaii387,977669,20083,10264.4
1California396,229568,50080,44069.0