There are good debts and bad debts. Loans used to pay housing mortgages are often seen as good debts, as they build personal wealth by helping you afford a home, which then builds your real estate assets.

That said, the United States has trillions in housing debts. According to a recent WalletHub report, the U.S. has more than $12 trillion in total mortgage debt.

How much each state carries in household debt varies.

States with the most mortgage debt:

  1. Maryland.
  2. Hawaii.
  3. Nevada.
  4. Texas.
  5. Arizona.

States with the least mortgage debt:

  1. Vermont.
  2. Delaware.
  3. Wyoming.
  4. Connecticut.
  5. Montana.

Utah ranked as the 14th highest state in mortgage debt in 2023, according to WalletHub.

Related
There’s been a shift in real estate commissions, but will it drive affordability?
$418M payout: NAR changes home selling landscape amid settlement

Mortgage rates’ historic highs

For those who follow the housing market, the news of America’s trillion-dollar household debt may not come as a shock because mortgage rates have reached historically high levels in recent years.

In fact, “Mortgage rates are the highest they’ve been in around a decade, and home prices have seen a meteoric rise in recent years as well,” WalletHub Editor John Kiernan said, per the report.

“Even small increases in home prices can lead to thousands of dollars in extra mortgage interest costs for homeowners, so it’s important to choose wisely when deciding where and when to buy a house,” he added.

At the beginning of 2024, the average mortgage debt owed per household was more than $241,000, according to Bankrate, which is a 4% increase from two years ago. With the current 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 6.87%, getting a loan may not seem so attractive.

“The average 30-year mortgage rate in the U.S., which was below 3% until late 2021, peaked at 7.79% in late October 2023,” per U.S. Bank. “That represented the highest mortgage rate since November 2000. The result is more costly borrowing, which can dampen housing market activity. Rates declined from October’s peaks, but are still close to 7%.”

How to manage current mortgage debts

According to Chase Bank, the best but not always the most possible way to manage mortgage payments is to pay them on time. “As long as you continue making your monthly mortgage payments on time, you’ll be in good standing with your lender. This prevents you from accruing fees or risking foreclosure.”

If paying your debt on time every month is not an option, Chase Bank advised the following options:

  • Only spend what is absolutely necessary on your home — spend money on decorating later.
  • Understand and review your mortgage statements to ensure they’re error-free.
  • Use emergency savings to cover unexpected housing costs.
  • Pay extra on payments whenever possible.