If you feel like your mortgage is weighing you down, you're not alone. According to Experian, the credit reporting site, Californians have the second highest mortgage debt in the country. And outstanding mortgage balances increased to a new high of $9.5 trillion.
Though California ranks near the top with an average debt of $363,537, the worst place for mortgage debt, for the second year in a row, is Washington, D.C. People in the nation's capitol hold an average mortgage debt of $416,848. California is then followed by Hawaii, Washington state and Colorado.
As for the states with the lowest mortgage debt? The place to go is West Virginia, where the average mortgage debt is $110,158. If the mountains of West Virginia doesn't appeal to you, Indiana, Mississippi, Ohio and Kentucky follow the Moutaineer State. The closest state to California that ranks towards the bottom of the list is Arizona, with an average mortgage debt of $202,148.
But, there is some good news.
"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," said the study. "And for consumers just starting their homebuying search, low interest rates and available inventory could make their search more rewarding, depending on local market conditions."
It also seems as if people are doing a better job of paying on time as well.
"While mortgage balances climb, delinquency rates have steadily decreased over the years. Since 2009, payments made between 30 and 59 days late have decreased 61%. There were declines across the board, with the exception of a small increase this past year for payments 30 days late."
Regardless of how much debt you owe, Experian recommends you stay on top of it to avoid damaging your credit score.
"Making mortgage payments in full and on time, every time will help you build a positive payment history and can improve your credit scores, whereas missing payments or paying less than the full amount owed can harm your scores."