Heavy Student Loan Debt Forces Many Millennials To Delay Buying Homes
And this is proof the economy is not as good as they claim. If debt increases to the point that the so-called American dream cannot be accomplished as easy, then there is a problem. Education is the key to upward mobility but education is expensive also.
Student loan debt in the United States has more than doubled over the past decade to about $1.5 trillion, and the Federal Reserve now estimates that it is cutting into millennials' ability to buy homes.
Homeownership rates for people ages 24 to 32 dropped nearly 9 percentage points between 2005 and 2014 — effectively driving down homeownership rates overall. In January, the Fed estimated 20 percent of that decline is attributable to student loan debt.
Whether that will shift with time as the millennial generation marries and has children is the big economic question.
That's also a big question for Michael McHale, who says as a child, he pictured a suburban, picket-fenced home he eventually wanted to own. "I can remember wanting that since I was 6, 7 or 8," he says.
But at age 31, McHale isn't living that dream. Instead, he and his wife rent in Danbury, Conn., an hour's drive from the elementary school where he teaches, across the state line in New York.
Not owning a home makes him feel he has made a mistake that has kept him short of a key milestone — and his piece of the American dream. McHale says he feels trapped by his and his wife's combined $1,200 monthly student loan bills, which prevent them from saving enough for a down payment.
And he says renting means he isn't free to plan his life, even as their first child — a boy — is on the way. One example: decorating the baby's nursery. "We can't really make any actual changes. We can't really paint too much," McHale says.