I'm looking for the terminology related to my home mortgage.

  1. The word or phrase for how much of my house I own.

  2. The word or phrase for how much I still owe.

For example, suppose I bought a $500K house and took out a $300K loan. The loan principal is this $300K.

Now suppose after several years, the house is valued at $600K, and I have paid off $100K of my $300K loan. So the house is $600K, I own $400K of it, and I still owe $200K.

What is the term for the $400K that I own?

What is the term for the $200K that I still owe? Is it still called the "principal"?

  • You own the entire house. Having a lien does not imply ownership.
    – Stian
    Mar 18 at 6:50

2 Answers 2


$400K is equity, $200K is principal owed on your mortgage. (This is also called 'Mortgage Balance' or Mortgage Debt', depending who is asking.) Cost basis is still $500K.

  • I think Outstanding Loan/Principal/Mortgage Balance/Amount is more popular.
    – base64
    Jul 31, 2015 at 1:44
  • Is there any term to differentiate between original principal and current principal? I guess I could simply say "current principal". Jul 31, 2015 at 1:49
  • "current" is fine, or "remaining principal" Jul 31, 2015 at 2:48
  • 1
    When I refer to the amount I owe on a mortgage I usually either call it the mortgage (or outstanding mortgage) or debt (or outstanding debt), I never call it the principal. As Mark has pointed out Equity and Debt would be the proper terms to be used.
    – Victor
    Aug 1, 2015 at 22:15
  • @Victor - I agree, it depends on the context. If a friend asked, it would likely be phased as "what do you owe" or "what's the balance on your mortgage. Aug 1, 2015 at 22:21

The actual correct terms are Equity for the part that you own and Debt for the part you owe.

  • "Equity" is used for the difference of the value of the property that you own, and the debt. You usually own the whole property (unless you bought together with someone else and each owns half the property). In other words, equity is the amount of cash that you could walk away with if you sold today and paid off your mortgage.
    – gnasher729
    Feb 18, 2018 at 19:33

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