Student Loans burden Potential First-Time Home Buyers

by 05 Mar 2013

As unpaid student loans in the United States pile up and become delinquent, economists are concerned that would-be young homeowners are getting left out of the housing market. According to various financial news outlets reporting on research studies by the New York Federal Reserve Bank and the Pew Research Center, student loan debt is quickly approaching the $1 trillion mark. Nearly 40 million student loan borrowers owe balances from just a few thousand dollars to more than $100,000. The delinquency rate is also troubling: 6.7 million student loan borrowers have not made payments in the last three months.

Homeowners do not expect to see many young buyers knocking on their doors. An economist from the New York Fed explained that those delinquent borrowers may not have a chance to get a mortgage any time soon. Recovering housing markets traditionally rely on young home shoppers to improve home sales, but the staggering amount of student loan debt and delinquency is making things difficult.

A Changing Mortgage Lending Landscape

Things were different for young mortgage borrowers in 2005, when nine percent of those burdened with school loans were able to get a mortgage. In 2012, only four percent were approved in a less upbeat housing market. Mortgage applicants who owe more than $100,000 on their school loans are a rare breed these days since they know that their chances of getting approved are slimmer these days. In many cases, their school loan balances are higher that a typical mortgage.

Mortgage lenders are being less flexible than they were in the past with regard to outstanding student debt, and the current lending environment is particularly challenging for first-time home buyers, most of whom carry school loan debt. First-time home buyers are sorely needed to spark a full housing recovery, but their participation has been minimal this time around.

Dropping Out from the Credit Race

Unless employment opportunities and salaries improve across the United States, student loan debtors may not only stay away from mortgage applications but also from other loans in general. The Pew Research Center reports that American households with members under 35 years of age currently have the lowest debt burden compared to their peers in 1995. These young families are not tapping into too much consumer credit,and 22 percent would be completely debt-free if not for their pesky student loans.


  • by Harry Mehlman | 3/6/2013 9:17:46 AM

    “... if not for their pesky student mortgages." Well, no one forced them to take those "pesky mortgages". Perhaps it's time to re-evaluate the whole Higher Education program. Maybe, just maybe, colleges and universities should consider the priority of teaching their students information they can use in real life after they graduate. Maybe they should back off from buying Golf Resorts (like they do in New Jersey) and put off buying Art. Maybe they should mention to their students the likelihood of finding a job in their major course of study... you know, so they can have an income to pay off those "pesky mortgages". Time to start realizing that many times Higher Education benefits the colleges and the professors, not necessarily the student.

  • by dan mchugh | 3/6/2013 4:01:06 PM

    Harry if you didnt know it I will tell you. Before Ronald Reagan got into office in california it would cost a student roughly 20% of tutition and the state would pick up the other 80% by the time Reagen left office to become President the tables had turned State 20% and student 80%. The next thing you know he applied the same formula to schools nationwide.. You know "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" this was his DAMAGE he did to all of us and we didnt think anything of it TILL NOW!!!! You now have the highest student debt in the nations history. Yes we could have done it differently but no we actually re-elected this guy. He took the middle class and DESTROYED IT!!! Then W came in to finish it off. However as usual there was a Democrat there to bail the middle class out. Yet you still have the empty headed bufoons still insisting that there arent enough cuts to the middle class and the poor. They are looking to cut even more than the sequester because apparently the only sector of the U.S. that deserves a break from the cuts the sequester would bring is the military. Apparently the 2 trillion over the last 10 years just wasnt enough.....

  • by howard | 3/6/2013 10:27:05 PM

    well said Dan Mchugh, I remember how realitivity inexpensive it was to go to a fairly good college or university and not be in debt up to our ears. We need to remember that in this country we do higher education well and the rest of the world knows it and wants to come here. When China graduates around 350k engineers and scientists per year and India has around 150k per year and then we come to our country which only graduates around 75k per year, it doesn't take a college graduate to figure out who will eventually end up on top. Incidently the students who come from abroad can add much to our society and economy but when they graduate after 4 years they are invited to leave as we have a poor imigration policy.


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