Study: Housing Market Poised To Lose $83B This Year Because Of Consumers’ Student Loan Debt

Back in February we reported that student loan debt was preventing some first-time home buyers from entering the housing market. Now a new study aims to put a price tag on those missed opportunities for the real estate world.

The study [PDF] by real estate firm John Burns Consulting found that $83 billion in home sales, or 414,000 homes, won’t happen this year in part because of consumers’ high student loan debt, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The figure works out to be about 8% of all home sales for the year, the firm estimates.

Researchers found that for every $250 per month in student loan debt that consumers owed their home purchasing power decreased by $44,000. With more than 5.9 million consumers under the age of 40 owing more than $250 a month in student debt, that would significantly affect the housing market.

Additionally, the report found that most households paying $750 or more per month in student loans are essentially priced out of the housing market all together.

“We actually think it’s pretty conservative,” said Rick Palacios, director of research at John Burns Consulting, tells the LA Times. “We’re only looking at people age 20 to 40. We know there’s a big chunk of households over age 40 who have student debt, too.”

As reported previously, consumers with student loan debt face an uphill battle when it comes to purchasing a home thanks in part to a new federal rules that went into effect last month. The new rule gives mortgage lenders broad legal protections as long as they do not approve loans for buyers whose total months debt exceeds 43% of their monthly gross income.

Additionally, the Federal Housing Administration is looking to scrap a waiver that helped many first-time home buyers in the past. Currently, the agency allows mortgage lenders it works with to ignore student loans debt that’s been deferred a year or more when assessing a borrower’s eligibility for a loan.

Not only does higher student loan debt make for more high-risk borrowers, but higher monthly payments on loans means more consumers are struggling to scrap together enough money for a down payment. The National Association of Realtors reported that 54% of first-time home buyers said student loans made it tough to save money.

Student loan debt curbs housing market by $83 billion, study says [The Los Angeles Times]

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