April 24th, 2019 | Updated on January 24th, 2024
Student loan debt has become a paralyzing financial burden for many young Americans. Today, millenials are now moving past their college years and entering the phase in their lives where they are looking to be homeowners.
However, being the generation with the most student debt in America does not make the home buying process very easy. Millenials are least likely to own a home compared to generations before them. In 2014, only about 36% of household heads between the ages of 24 and 32 years old owned a home.
That is down from 45% in 2005. One of the big factors to this low-rate of home ownership is the amount of student loan debt they have.
While homeownership may be lowering, the amount of student debt continues to rise. This can be attributed to the increasing costs of higher education. The average college student graduates with about $30,000 in both private and federal loans. The more education costs the more students take out loans to pay for their education.
This has created a never-ending cycle of debt that affects other aspects of life such as buying a home.
Here are some ways that student loan debt can make it difficult for millenials:
1. Debt-To-Income Ratio
The number one issue that comes up when trying to purchase the home is the debt-to-income ratio. That is the amount of money you owe to lenders versus the income your bring in.
The average income of college graduates is about $59,000. However, the average monthly payment of a student loan is about $350. This becomes a large chunk of monthly expenses. Banks are often wary of those with large amount of debt, especially debt like student loans which are seen as “unsecured debt”.
Meaning that this debt is likely to be paid throughout a lifetime. Often, banks would prefer candidates whose expenditures are not more than 36% of their income. However, that can be difficult if your income is only $50,000.
This ratio also can be affected by the cost of housing in your specific area. Those that live in higher cost areas can find it even more difficult to secure a home loan.
2. Credit Score
Another aspect that strongly affects homeownership for millenials is their credit score. About 8% of student loan borrowers were denied a mortgage because of their credit score.
Those between the ages of 19 and 34 years old on average have a credit score of about 625. This is much lower compared to previous generations such as Generation X who had an average of 650 and Baby Boomers whose average was 709.
However, as mentioned previously millennials also have a larger amount of debt compared to these generations.
Millennials’ debt-to-income ratio is directly affecting their credit scores. Often, borrowers acquire a large amount of student loan debt and upon graduation found it difficult to find stable income to payoff the debt and defaulted into their loans. This caused their credit score to lower and made it difficult to be approved for a mortgage.
3. Down Payments
Getting approved for a mortgage can be a difficult first step to homeownership. However, the burdening reach of student loan debt does not stop there.
Saving up for a down payment for a home can be difficult when you have such huge loan debt to pay every month.
Often some would-be homeowners choose to take out a short-term loan to get immediate cash to use as a down payment .
This might be particularly appealing for those living in states with lower student loan debt and lower costs of living. Millennials can access an online car title loan to get immediate cash that they can use as a down payment for their home. Since it is a short term loan, unlike a student loan, it can be paid off quicker and easier.
Higher Cost Of Living – Another aspect of student loan debt that is affecting millennials’ homeownership is the higher cost of living.
While millennials seem to be earning much more than previous generations, the increase of income has not combatted the rapidly increasing costs of living. Millennials not only pay more for education and housing than previous generations but they must spend more on other expenditures as well.
The cost of childcare is about 2% more than previous years, which might not seem like a lot but when broken down that is about $150 on average for child care compared to about $85 a week in 1985.
Millennials also spend more on health insurance, transportation, and entertainment than previous generations.
Homeownership and student loan debt can be a tumultuous relationship. Student loan debt often paralyzes millennials from acquiring an integral part of the American Dream, owning a home.
Millennials do have a challenging future when it comes to purchasing a home. However, with careful budgeting and dedication to paying off debt, the dream of homeownership can be a reality.