Millennial’s student loans have kept them from becoming homeowners because they can’t afford a down payment or tanked their credit defaulting on a loan.
If you’re hoping your children will be able to buy a home of their own someday, you might want to keep an eye on how much money they’re taking out in student loans.
Today, current and former students have accumulated a massive $1.4 trillion in student loans, and according to a new study, student loan debt is taking its toll on home ownership. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) report, more than 80 percent of Millennials can’t afford to buy their first home.
Why? Buying a home typically requires a down payment, and most Millennials can’t save for a down payment and keep up with their student loan payments. And it’s not because they aren’t working, 80 percent of Millennials are working full-time and 25 percent take on a second job to pay down student loan debt.
NAR’s report shows they’re paying on time now, but over 30 percent of students have defaulted or forbore on their loans in the past. This echoes the conclusion from Brookings Institute’s long-term analysis of student loan borrowers that estimates 40 percent of students will default on their loans within 20 years. As of June 2017, there was a record of 8.5 million student borrowers in default on federal loans alone.
Default puts home ownership even further out of reach for Millennials. It accelerates collection so the entire balance owed plus any interest that has accumulated on the balance are immediately due. It wreaks havoc with credit scores, allows lenders to garnish wages, can lead to court costs, and those in default are unable to purchase or sell assets, like real estate. More than a third of potential homeowners need to overcome and recover from the default process before they can even begin saving for a downpayment on a home.
Another startling statistic from NAR’s report is that more than 60 percent of Millenials are unable to contribute anything to a retirement account, let alone consider buying a home. Taking on a ‘side-hustle’ in the gig economy, like driving for Uber, is a potential solution to the financial strain on Millennials. It means more work, but gigs like Uber allow drivers the flexibility to clock in and clock out on demand. By working an additional 5 to 10 hours a week in the gig economy, Millennials can stay on track with student loan payments, save for a down payment, or start saving for retirement.
It isn’t a perfect solution, but if Millennials want to avoid default and stay on track with their financial goals it might be worth sacrificing some personal time in the present for a less stressful financial future.