Student Loan Debt and Its Impact on the Housing Market

Student loan debt is a serious issue for college graduates. The amount of debt accrued by students to pay for their education, coupled with the decline in median income for college graduates, means many rely on their parents for housing.

As many as two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loan debt; the average student graduates owing at least $25,000 to the bank. Student loan debt nationwide has topped $1 trillion, and there are nearly 37 million student loan borrowers in the United States currently repaying a student loan.

Perhaps even more surprising, more than 60 percent of the $1 trillion student loan debt is held by those over 30 years old and 15 percent is held by those over 50. Student loan debt often looms for years, if not decades post graduation, and in today’s economy, it can last even longer.

According to the Federal Reserve, the median income of college graduates dropped nearly 10.5 percent between 2007-2010. In years past, college students could easily find a job after graduation, move out on their own (if they were not already living independently from their parents), and begin to support themselves.

Unfortunately it’s a different picture today. The economy and employment rates make it more difficult for new college graduates to find work, let alone work that pays a decent wage.

The student loan landscape in America plays a tremendous role in shaping the state of the housing market. When recent graduates are able to find well-paying jobs, they are more likely to consider purchasing a home. However, many of those with student loan debt are unable to purchase a home if they want to, simply because they cannot afford the down payment.

The rate of homeownership is an estimated 36 percent less among those currently repaying student debt. Many college graduates are unable to secure a home loan because they hold so much in student loan debt. And even if they were able to secure a home loan, many of them delay major purchases such as a car or home because of their student loans.

Millennials find more affordability, flexibility and lack of long-term commitment in renting because they have access to amenities that would otherwise not be available if they chose homeownership. Unlike most of their parents, many recent graduates are opting for rental apartments because they feel that the American Dream is no longer forged through homeownership. That being said, the dream of homeownership is not dead, rather it is being postponed.

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