With homeownership rates among 20- and 30-somethings at a three-decade low, the New York Times recently explored student debt’s role as a “significant force keeping many millennials out of the home buying market.” According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and United States Census Bureau, between 2003 and 2018, student debt rose from $241 billion to $1.4 trillion dollars. Across the same time period, the proportion of people under age 35 who own homes decreased from 42 percent to 35 percent.
A 2017 analysis of individuals ages 28-30 attributed up to 35 percent of the decline in homeownership from 2007-2015 to student debt. While acknowledging that a college education is still associated with an overall increased likelihood of home ownership, the Times attributes millennials’ home-buying struggles in part to the financial aid structures that allow students to complete their degrees but leave them with significant debt.
Results from a survey by the National Association of Realtors and the nonprofit group American Student Assistance showed that more than 80 percent of millennials felt that student debt had hampered their ability to purchase a home, delaying it by an estimated seven years.