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Some 36% of US millennials say student loan debt is stopping them owning homes

About a quarter of US-based millennials said they had been “strongly impacted” by student loan debt.

Raychel Brightman/Newsday RM via Getty Images

  • Americans owe about $1.75 trillion in student loans, according to data from the Federal Reserve.
  • Millennials owe an average of $38,877 in student loan debt, according to an Experian consumer debt study. 
  • 36% of US millennials say student loan debt is keeping them from owning homes, a survey found.

More than one third of millennials in the US say they feel locked out of buying a home because of their student loan debts, according to a new survey conducted by Legal & General, a UK-based financial services firm.

The company polled 875 US-based millennials who are not homeowners and found that 36% believed student loan debt was a significant barrier in their quest to save for a down payment on a home.

The result is in line with another June 2021 survey done by the National Association of Realtors, which shows 35% of millennials surveyed said the debt impacted their decision or ability to purchase a home. 

Americans owe about $1.75 trillion in student loans, according to data from the Federal Reserve. US student loan debt averaged about $28,400 in 2020, according to CollegeBoard data, but millennials averaged even more — around $38,877 — according to an Experian consumer debt study. 

“Millennials were the first generation to have their backs up against the wall with this unhappy choice between massive debt or no education,” the survey said. 

The US is home to 72 million millennials born from 1981 to 1996, according to the Pew Research Center. Nearly half say they still feel hobbled by the Great Recession, which unfolded as many of them were graduating from college. 

About 23% of the US millennials surveyed by Legal & General felt “strongly impacted” by student loan debt. While 45% of those surveyed said saving for a down payment was their top priority, another 26% said they would first pay off their student loans.

The impact of student loan debt means those who don’t have access to financial help from their families are disadvantaged in accumulating wealth through property ownership, said the report.

“While the trope of self-made Americans putting themselves through college is as iconic as the 1966 Mustang, at some point when millennials were coming of age — some mark it around the turn into the new millennium— that part of the American Dream got a lot harder,” it added.

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