Even if millennials can ride out the housing crisis, student debt is wiping out their homeownership dreams

college student graduation
Student debt is holding back millennials from buying a home. Bebeto Matthews/AP Photos
  • The National Association of Realtors found 51% of student-loan borrowers have delayed buying a home.

  • Of that group, 60% of millennials have pushed off homeownership - the most affected group.

  • Millennials, who lived through two housing crises before they turned 40, are now entering peak homebuying age with too much debt.

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That white picket fence keeps drifting further out of reach for millennials, who feel chained to the renting life because of student debt.

More than half (51%) of borrowers are delaying the purchase of a home because of their student debt, according to a report the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released on Tuesday. The poll, conducted by Morning Consult, surveyed 1,995 student-loan holders and found that of the 51% who have had to push back homeownership because of student debt, 60% of them are millennials - "by far" the most affected group, the report stated.

"Aside from just purchasing a home, this report finds that more than half of those with student loan debt
have delayed some form of major life choice," NAR President Charlie Oppler, CEO of Prominent Properties Sotheby's International, said in a statement. "Student loan debt isn't just seeping into housing affordability. It's also plaguing other aspects of people's lives."

Other main findings of the report include:

  • 36% of borrowers said student debt delayed their decision to move out of a family member's home, with 52% of Black borrowers saying the same thing;

  • 31% of millennials would use additional funds to purchase a home in the future with no student debt;

  • And 28% of Black borrowers would use additional funds to purchase a home in the future with no student debt.

Insider has previously reported on the relationship between homeownership and student debt, and how the desire for owning a home has been delayed indefinitely due to the growing student debt crisis. In June, Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge told Axios that student debt is a barrier to homeownership - especially for Black borrowers.

"Who has student debt? Poor people, Black people, brown people," Fudge said. "We're the people who carry most debt. And so the system's already skewed toward us not being creditworthy."

The millennial struggle for homeownership

As the NAR report indicates, student debt is holding back millennials from homeownership the most. As of 2019, the 15.1 million borrowers ages 25 to 34 - a large chunk of the millennial population - owed an average of $33,000, which has prevented many of them from making big life purchases, like a home.

"I still haven't been able to save enough to put a down payment on a house and commit to another 30-year loan," Daniela Capparelli, who graduated with $150,000 debt, told Insider in the beginning of 2020, when she was 35. "I often feel like I already have a mortgage without the house."

It doesn't help that the housing market is continuously screwing the generation over. They suffered the most from the last housing crisis, entering a dismal jobs market in the middle of a recession that led to years of stagnant wages. The lingering effects of the financial crisis meant it took years for them to build wealth and save for a down payment, all while juggling student debt.

Come 2020, the generation finally entered the age for first-time homeownership, with more savings under their belt and lower interest rates that made housing more attainable - theoretically. But hot demand for homes in a remote work era, coupled with the pandemic, an underbuilding of homes, and a lumber shortage, created a cutthroat market with tight inventory and sky-high prices. Millennials soon found themselves facing their second housing crisis in a dozen years.

The domino effect of millennials' economic woes is partly why so many lawmakers and politicians are calling upon President Joe Biden to cancel student debt. So far, he's canceled $9.5 billion in student debt for targeted groups of people, but has yet to fulfill his campaign promise of canceling $10,000 in student debt per borrower. If he doesn't, millennials will keep facing financial hardship.

Read the original article on Business Insider