Report: Student loan debt impacting first-time home buyers


The economy and wages have improved in 2017 under President Trump, but new data reveals first-time home buyers are struggling under the weight of rising student loan debt.

The share of sales to first-time buyers fell to 34 percent in 2017, down from 35 percent in 2016, according to the National Association of Realtors’ annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. That is the fourth-lowest share in the survey’s 36-year history. First-time buyers historically make up closer to 40 percent of homebuyers.

The drop in buyers is, in part, due to a rise in student-loan debt. For those who did buy, 41 percent said they had student debt, up from 40 percent in 2016. The average amount of debt also increased to $29,000 from $26,000 last year.

Coupled with rising home prices:

Home prices hit yet another new peak in August, at $282,000, according to Black Knight Financial Services. That happened after 64-consecutive months of annual home-price appreciation. Monthly gains, however, have been falling for the last five months.

Higher prices meant first-time buyers had a higher household income ($75,000) than a year ago ($72,000) and purchased a slightly smaller home (1,640-square-feet vs. 1,650-square-feet in 2016) that was more expensive ($190,000, compared with $182,500 in 2016).

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