NAR Survey Shows How College, Student Debt Affect Homeownership

Many Millennials delaying homeownership

money squeezed

Out of non-homeowners paying their student debt on time, 71% said their debt is hindering them from purchasing a home, and over 50% said they expect to be delayed more than five years, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors and SALT, a consumer literacy program provided by nonprofit American Student Assistance.

Student debt is not just keeping them from buying a home, but also from moving out on their own at all. They survey showed that about 40% of borrowers had to postpone moving out from their parents or relatives’ homes due to student debt.

Broken down by generation and debt amount, the highest share of those postponing buying a home is in older Millennials, ages 26 to 35, and those with $70,000 to $100,000 in total debt.

They survey polled student debt holders who were current in their payments. Most debt was from four year or private universities, and 43% had between $10,001 to $40,000 in student debt, whereas 38% had $50,000 or more. The most common amount was $20,000 to $30,000.

Although going to college increases their chances of finding stable employment and earning enough to buy a home, student debt is making it difficult to save for a downpayment, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said.

“A majority of non-homeowners in the survey earning over $50,000 a year, which is above the median U.S. qualifying income needed to buy a single-family home, reported that student debt is hurting their ability to save for a down payment,” Yun said.

“Along with rent, a car payment and other large monthly expenses that can squeeze a household’s budget, paying a few hundred dollars every month on a student loan equates to thousands of dollars over several years that could otherwise go towards saving for a home purchase.”

Over 75% of non-homeowners who said student debt is delaying them from buying a home, said they can’t save for a down payment. Also, 69% don’t feel financially secure enough to buy and 63% can’t qualify for a mortgage because of high debt-to income ratios.

“Nearly three-quarters of older millennials, many of whom graduated at the peak or immediately after the downturn, said their ability to purchase a home is affected by student debt,” Yun said. “Add in the detrimental effects of low inventory as well as rents and home price growth outpacing wages and it’s mainly why the share of first-time buyers remains at its lowest point in nearly three decades.”

Some places are worse than others. For example, can you imagine saving for 38 years to buy your first home? It seems absurd, yet at the rate many Millennials are saving in Boulder County, that’s how long it would take to put a 20% down payment on a home in the area, according to an article by Shay Castle for The Denver Post.

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