414,000 Home Sales Lost in 2014 to Student Debt

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Some analysts have argued that the impact of student loans is overblown, but new research comes to a different conclusion.

In the last 11 years, student debt in the U.S. has skyrocketed from $241 billion to $1.1 trillion, making it the second-highest form of debt in the country; only mortgage debt, nowadays, has a greater volume.

Analysts have debated just how detrimental student debt is to the economy, and a new study by John Burns Real Estate Consulting has come to some stark conclusions – in 2014 alone, there will be 414,000 transactions lost to student debt, meaning that the burden of student loans will stop the transactions from taking place; assuming a typical home price of $200,000, that translates to $83 billion in lost volume.

The Sizable Impact of Student Debt

Here is how John Burns came to its concluding numbers:

  • Of the 86 million Americans aged 20-39, there are 29 million who have student debt.
  • Those 29 million, John Burns found, translate to 16.8 million households.
  • Finally, of those 16.8 million households, 35 percent of them (or, 5.9 million households) pay more than $250 per month in student loans; that, according to John Burns, inhibits “at least” $44,000 per year in mortgage culpability for those consumers. Here’s a graphic breakdown by The Wall Street Journal on student loan payments:


  •  Finally, John Burns looked at the average percentage of the 20-39 year old age group who purchased homes each year – it comes out to about 8 percent – and used a calculation to see how student debt shaped that number, thus arriving at the conclusions that it did. The one troubling thing? because John Burns limited its analysis to consumers aged 20-39, it considers its conclusions “conservative.”

Here’s an infographic from John Burns that summarizes its findings:


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