LA Metro Area Has Fourth-Highest Mortgage Debt Among Major U.S. Regions

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana market had the fourth-highest average mortgage debt in the country among major metro areas in the year's first quarter, according to data released today by the consumer credit reporting company Experian.

The L.A. region ranked fourth with an average of $409,315 owed per homeowner. That average is a 2.3% increase over the area's debt last year, which averaged $400,113 per homeowner in 2018's first quarter. The Los Angeles area was one of seven of the top 10 metro areas with the highest debt to show an increase over their 2018 first quarter averages.

The top 10 includes eight major metro regions in California, a reflection of California having the most average mortgage debt in the country among official states during the first quarter at $363,537 per borrower. Only the Washington, D.C., area outranked California at an average of $418,555.

The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara region led all major metro markets in the country with an average $519,576 per homeowner, a 3.9% increase over the region's Q1 2018 average. The San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Santa Barbara- Santa Maria-Goleta and Santa Cruz-Watsonville markets rounded out the top five while the San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos region ranked sixth.

Combined mortgage debt in the U.S. rose in the first quarter each of the last six years, according to Experian. Mortgage debt in 2019's first quarter totaled $9.5 trillion while average mortgage debt per homeowner increased to more than $200,000, its highest point over the last five years.

``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,'' Experian data analyst Matt Tatham wrote in a blog post regarding the company's data. ``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.''

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