Debt is not holding back graduates in the US buying a home, new research shows

Having a lot of student debt doesn't greatly reduce young people's chances of home ownership in the United States, as long as they graduate, a new analysis has found. The findings challenge a popular concern that giant student loan payments are holding back people from home ownership. As it turns out, graduates' debt loads don't materially hurt their chances of buying a home, especially if they get at least a four year degree. Overall student debt has only a small negative effect on the odds of home ownership for a person with a bachelor's degree or higher, according to the research from real estate firm Zillow. The chances of a married couple with no student debt owning a home are about 69.8% if at least one of them has a bachelor's degree. If the same couple has $ 30,000 in student debt, their homeownership chances drop slightly, to 67.7%. ‘The income advantage of getting a degree pays off in terms of being able to buy a home in the long run. Student debt isn't the evil-doer it's made out to be, at least not when it comes to homeownership,’ said Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell. ‘As long as students stay in school and get a degree, student debt doesn't deter them from homeownership, although it is possible that student debt could delay home ownership. People in their 20s and 30s are renting longer because they're delaying marriage, paying a lot in rent, and struggling to qualify for a mortgage when they finally find an affordable home. Add to that list that they are paying off student debt,’ she explained. The research also found that the least likely to own homes are people who have student debt, but no degree. In fact, a couple who borrowed more than$ 30,000 for school but never graduated has a less than 40 percent chance of home ownership. Graduates with advanced degrees are the most likely to own a home, even if they racked up a lot of student debt. For example, if a couple owes $ 50,000 in student loans, but one of them has a master's degree, they have a 75% chance of home ownership. A similar household with just $ 10,000 in loans and only a bachelor's degree has just a 69% chance of home ownership. Student debt has the greatest impact on the home ownership rate of people with two year associate's degrees. A couple with AA degrees and no debt has a 70% chance of owning their home. That declines significantly as debt grows. If the same couple has $ 50,000 in student debt, they own their home only 57% of the time. Getting an associate's degree improves chances of home ownership until a person has borrowed $ 70,000. After that, their chances of home ownership would have been better without a degree and no student loan debt. Getting a bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree, regardless of debt, increases the chances that people will… Continue reading

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