Study: Student Debt Costs Housing $83B a Year

September 23, 2014

Rising student-loan debt is putting a dent in the housing market. A new report from John Burns Consulting estimates that 414,000 home sales — or 8 percent of all sales — won't happen this year because more buyers are strapped with too much student-loan debt. That will cost the housing industry an estimated $83 billion a year, according to the study.

About 5.9 million households under the age of 40 owe $250 or more per month in student loans, a number that has nearly tripled since 2005. Every $250 in monthly student-loan payments lessens borrowing and purchasing power by $44,000, the study finds.

Rick Palacios, director of research at John Burns Consulting, says the research firm believes those estimates are "pretty conservative."

"We're only looking at people ages 20 to 40," he says. "We know there's a big chunk of households over age 40 who have student debt, too."

Home sales have been dwindling among young adults in recent years. A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York now finds that young people with student debt are less likely to have a mortgage and own a house than those who never attended college. That's a reversal of the traditional trend, where those with higher education and higher earnings tended to own.

Source: “Student Loan Debt Curbs Housing Market by $83 Billion, Study Says,” Los Angeles Times (Sept. 22, 2014)