The Reality of Student Loans

In a previous blog post of mine I reflected on the crippling effects of student loans for millennials. The amount of debt that students are accumulating is astronomical in comparison to previous generations. Much to no one’s surprise, a recent study by the National Association of Realtors and SALT affirms that student debt delays homeownership.

According to the study, seventy-one percent of non-homeowners claim that the debt they’ve acquired from school is preventing them from being able to buy a home. Furthermore, the study concluded that more than half of the 3,000 surveyed weren’t even anticipating purchasing a home for more than five years.

While the benefits of higher degree most certainly secure a stable employment for students, earning that degree is almost counterproductive in relation to their future. Tuition rates have reached astronomical levels over the past 40 years. As depicted in a chart for collegeboard.org, the average tuition rate for a four-year public school in 1975 was $2,387. Today, the average rate is $9,410, almost four times the amount it once was. Thus, while the degree may secure a stable job with a competitive salary, it’s at a cost to your financial future.

A large part of what’s holding millennials back in the housing market is their ability, or lack there of, to save for a down payment. Student loans are often paid off in monthly increments. The couple of hundred in student loan payments, partnered with rent, insurance, bills and other expenses, makes saving for a down payment unfathomable. Down payment options are particularly affordable for first-time buyers today and unfortunately, most millennials aren’t able to take advantage of that.

The hindering effects of student loans has resulted in vicious cycle for the housing market. Student loans are holding back millennials from buying but it’s also preventing current homeowners from selling. Mortgage payments in addition to student loan payments is equally restricting and so, homeowners simply cannot afford to upgrade or move.

The low inventory in the housing market today is a direct reflection of this study. If the current circumstances in the housing market and higher education system aren’t regulated, it could cause long-term effects on our economy.