CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A new study found that West Virginia is the state with the largest percent of residents who own their homes.

According to Today’s Homeowner, entering the housing market can be a challenge due to rising home prices across the nation. Despite this, home equity values are also rising, which means the value of current homeowners’ homes is also going up. “Home equity” is the difference between the value of your home and what you still owe on your mortgage.

While collecting data for a study on which states had the top home equity, researchers with Today’s Homeowner found that West Virginia has the most residents who have paid off their mortgages, or “true homeowners.” According to the study, West Virginia and Mississippi are the only two states in which more than half of homeowners do not have a mortgage.

For West Virginia, the study found that of the state’s approximately 542,805 homeowners, 53.8%, or approximately 291,795, have paid off their mortgage. Mississippi ranks second with 404,298 homeowners, or 51.4%, of the state’s 787,068 homeowners have their mortgages fully paid. New Mexico, North Dakota, and Louisiana rounded out the top five for states with the most true homeowners.

The main purpose of the study, however, was to find the top states with the most home equity as a percent of value. The study included all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. While West Virginia didn’t take the top spot on that list, the Mountain State still faired well coming in at number six on the list.

The study found that the state has one of the lowest average home equities amounts in the United States but gained its sixth place rank on the list by having a high home equity as a percentage of the average home value. Researchers said the average home equity value for West Virginia came to approximately $85,653, which comes in to just under 60% of the state’s average home value of $143,200.

The study found that Hawaii had the highest overall home equity values with the average equity value at $473,886, or 65.6%, of the value of the average home value of $722,500. Vermont, New Hampshire, Montana and Maine rounded out the rest of the top five states.