Hawaii tops nation for mortgage debt

HILO — Hawaii residents are rising in the ranks of the indebted.

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HILO — Hawaii residents are rising in the ranks of the indebted.

A new report found the Aloha State had the most mortgage debt per capita at $51,770 in 2015, far above the national average of $31,330.

That’s up from $39,870 per capita in 2005, when Hawaii ranked sixth nationwide, yet down slightly from $53,690 in 2010 when it ranked third, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. The national average also decreased after 2010.

For total debt, Hawaii was ranked second, with $67,010 per capita in 2015, only slightly behind Maryland, whose residents owed $67,020 per person. A decade before, the state again was ranked sixth.

Of all debt categories, mortgage weighs the heaviest on isle residents, according to the report, which attributed the state’s rise in the rankings at least partially to housing costs outpacing income levels.

While debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can become unsustainable when not supported by incomes, the report says.

Hawaii’s debt-to-income ratio was 1.76 in 2015, above the national average of 1.3.

The difference appears solely due to the cost of a buying a home. When mortgages are excluded, Hawaii’s ratio was 0.40 that year, essentially the same as the national average of 0.41.

While college costs continue to climb, students are faring better in Hawaii than the rest of the country.

According to the report, the state had the lowest student debt at $3,150 per capita in 2015.

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To view the report visit, http://dbedt.hawaii.gov/economic/reports_studies.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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