This Is the Average 40-Something's Mortgage. How Do You Compare?

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  • Experian reports that Generation X owed about $260,000 on average for a mortgage in 2021.
  • Mortgage debt can help you work toward owning a valuable asset -- a home.
  • But the less you borrow, the less interest you have to pay, so calculating what you can afford can be helpful.

Your mortgage might be more than the typical borrower's -- or less.

Many people have no choice but to wait until their 40s to purchase a home. For example, some people spend their 20s and 30s paying off debts or working on growing their income before building savings. 

There's nothing wrong with waiting until your 40s to buy a home. At that stage of life, you may be earning more money and feel like you're in a stable career. Also, if your kids are a little older at that point, your childcare costs may be lower, leaving you with more wiggle room to manage the cost of a mortgage, property taxes, insurance, and the many other expenses associated with property ownership.

But if you're applying for a mortgage in your 40s, you may be curious to see how the amount you're looking to borrow stacks up. And Experian has some answers.

What 40-somethings owe on their mortgage

According to Experian's State of Credit 2021 report, the average Generation X borrower owed $259,100 on a mortgage as of 2021 -- and 40-somethings largely fall into that category. Now, this doesn't mean the average 40-something today is borrowing exactly $259,100. That figure may be representative of mortgages that are partially paid off (say, by borrowers in their 40s who actually bought their homes in their 30s).

Plus, home prices are through the roof these days. So the amount of money you borrow in mortgage form may be higher than what people were borrowing a few years ago.

How much of a mortgage can you afford?

Mortgage debt is generally considered a healthy type to have because it allows you to eventually own an asset that can gain value over time.

That said, the less money you borrow, the lower your monthly payments will be. And also, borrowing less means spending less on mortgage interest

But if you're looking to borrow more than $259,100 to finance a home purchase, don't feel bad about it. It may be that you have to take out a bigger home loan due to higher home prices, or it may be that homes in your area are more expensive than they are in the rest of the country.

A good rule of thumb, however, is to make sure your housing costs do not exceed 30% of your take-home pay. And that doesn't mean keeping just your mortgage payment under the 30% mark. Rather, all of your predictable housing costs, including property taxes and homeowners insurance, should come in at or below 30% of the money you bring home in your paycheck. Exceeding that limit could cause you to fall behind on housing payments or other bills.

While the average person in their 40s might owe $259,100 on a mortgage, you might end up borrowing more or less. The key is to run your own numbers (and our mortgage calculator can help with that) to see what makes the most sense for you financially.

If you want to dig deeper into the numbers, check out our guide to how much house you can afford.

Our Research Expert

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