Student Loan Debt Causes Homeownership Ripple Effect

For some time, housing industry experts have been discussing the impact of student loans on the ability of many to purchase a home, especially since the number of first-time homebuyers in recent years has dropped and remained lower than usual. In Texas, nearly two-thirds of graduates emerge from college with debt. That’s a lot of potential homeowners waiting longer to buy homes. 

Thanks to a paper by Federal Reserve Board economists, the industry now has a better idea of just how much homeownership is impacted by student loan debt. According to authors Drs. Daniel Ringo and Alvaro Mezza, a 10 percent increase in student loan debt cuts the homeownership rate by 1-2 percentage points 24 months out of school. Additionally, that 10 percent increase in student loan debt increases the probability that a borrower falls into the subprime category (a credit score of 620 or less).

In Texas, students graduating with a bachelor’s degree leave school with an average debt of $26,250. That’s lower than the national average of $37,172 but more than $10,000 higher than it was a decade ago. 

College grads shouldn’t let the news get them down, though. With proper credit management and a bit of financial planning, grads can still find a way to buy a home sooner rather than later. It still makes sense to buy in many cases, too. After all, mortgage rates remain historically low and the cost of rent is rising quickly. If you’re thinking of buying a home in the next few years, it makes sense to speak with a credit counselor and a local lender who can advise you on the best ways to protect and build your credit rating, how much to save for closing costs and down payments, and incentive programs available to first time homebuyers. Do this long before you plan to buy and you’ll have a better idea of what to expect when you’re ready.

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