Student loan debt has tripled in the past 10 years to over 1.3 trillion and this debt has impacted the ability of many Americans to purchase a home. Studies have shown that the percentage of homeowners under the age of 35 has dropped and many Americans with student loan debt do not feel financially secure enough to purchase a home.
In a telephone survey conducted by NeighborWorks America, 30 percent of people polled said they knew somebody who has put off buying a home due to student loan debt, a number which has been rising steadily since 2014. Of those surveyed, 53 percent felt their student loan debt makes it difficult to purchase a home while 56 percent said that high renting costs keep them from being able to save enough money for a down payment. This supports the findings of other studies.
“With the homeownership rate at the lowest point in decades, and minority homeownership plunging even further, these data signal a weak home buying market going forward, despite near record-low mortgage rates and broad-based national income growth,” said Paul Weech, president and CEO of NeighborWorks America.
29 percent of people with student loan debt expected to continue renting due to rising home costs in comparison to the 17 percent of people without student loan debt who expected to continue renting. 60 percent of renters wished homeownership were an option for them and 89 percent felt that homeownership is a part of the American dream.
This survey also found Americans divided on the affordability of housing prices. 45 percent felt that the current housing market is unaffordable for first time buyers while 50 percent believe homes are affordable. 56 percent of renters reported having a hard time saving the money to purchase a home due to the high costs of renting.
While there are many programs available to Americans that help them managed their debt and provide information on affordable homeownership, the majority of people polled claimed to be unaware these programs exist. This survey found that 71 percent of Americans do not know about down payment assistance programs and 77 percent of people with student loan debt are unaware of available loan counseling programs.
NeighborWorks America is a network that supports more than 240 nonprofits committed to building the skills and supplying the resources for affordable housing and community development. They offer both online learning as well as in person counseling to educate individuals looking to purchase a home on a limited budget. They have many locations across the country which can be found on their website. Neighborworks America has helped over 350,000 families find affordable housing, have created over 30,000 jobs, and have counseled over 100,000 people over the past 35 years.