Collectively, Americans carry trillions in household debt, with mortgages the biggest burden by far. With home values higher than ever and the U.S. population continuing to grow, the raw total of outstanding mortgages is at record levels.

Still, a mortgage is generally considered “good” debt, and it’s the cheapest  way to borrow for many Americans. For those who locked in super-low rates during the pandemic, there’s no real urgency to pay it off, either.

With mortgage rates now in the 7 percent range, however, this type of loan isn’t as attractive to some. What’s more, 49 percent of Americans agree mortgage rates will remain elevated for the foreseeable future, according to an October 2023 Bankrate survey.

Key average mortgage debt insights


Annual average mortgage debt

Mortgage debt is the heavyweight when it comes to household debt, dwarfing credit card balances, student loans and auto loans. Since 2013, mortgage debt has steadily risen. Since the pandemic, increases in home prices and interest rates kicked the climb into overdrive.

Average mortgage debt by generation

Americans generally begin taking on debt as young adults, taper off their pace of borrowing in middle age and work to pay off loans near or during retirement.

Generation Average mortgage debt
Source: Experian
Generation Z $229,897
Millennials $295,689
Generation X $277,153
Baby boomers $190,441
Silent Generation $141,148

For each generation, this trend has taken place in tandem with mortgage rate fluctuations and home price appreciation, which has accelerated dramatically in recent years. In February 2012, the median existing-home price was $155,600, according to the National Association of Realtors. By the same time in 2017, the median was $228,200. As of November 2023, the median home price was $387,600.

States with the highest and lowest mortgage debt

These states had the highest average mortgage balance per borrower as of the end of 2022, according to Experian:

  1. District of Columbia – $492,745
  2. California – $422,909
  3. Hawaii – $387,277
  4. Washington – $331,658
  5. Colorado – $319,981

In these states, borrowers are much closer to paying off their home loans:

  1. West Virginia – $124,445
  2. Mississippi – $139,046
  3. Ohio – $139,618
  4. Indiana – $141,238
  5. Kentucky – $144,222

How mortgage debt compares to other household debt

Mortgage debt makes up the largest portion of household debt, but because the payments are often spread out over decades, they don’t have as outsized an impact on a household’s monthly budget — especially when compared to higher-interest debt like credit card balances.

Here are stats related to other common types of debt, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York:

  • Auto loans: Total auto loan debt came to $1.6 trillion as of Q3 2023, an increase of $13 billion from the previous quarter.
  • Credit card debt: Total credit card debt came to $1.08 trillion as of Q3 2023, an increase of $48 billion from the previous quarter.
  • Student loans: Total student loan debt came to $1.6 trillion as of Q3 2023, an increase of $30 billion from the previous quarter.

That longevity works to borrowers’ advantage in another way: Each monthly payment you make builds your home equity, which can be leveraged over time to help further your financial goals.

Additional reporting by Agnes Gaddis