Going to college can boost your earning power, but having student debt hurts your chances of owning a home, according to a new report. Recent college graduates who borrow are leaving school with an average of $34,000 in student loans. That’s up from $20,000 just 10 years ago, according to a new analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
In that report, out this week, the New York Fed took a careful look at the relationship between debt and homeownership. For people aged 30 to 36, the analysis shows having any student debt significantly hurts your chances of buying a home, compared to college graduates with no debt. The cliche of “good debt” notwithstanding, the consequences of borrowing are real, and they are lasting.
The report paints a mixed picture of how student borrowing has evolved over the last decade, since the financial crisis. There are some bright spots: For example, student loan defaults peaked five years ago and have declined ever since. And repayment seems to have slowed down among high-balance borrowers —those who owe $75,000 or more. Meaning, after 10 years, they have paid down only one-quarter to one-third of what they owe.
On the face, this isn’t necessarily good. But taken alongside the decline in defaults, Fed president William Dudley said in a press briefing Monday, it reflects something good. That is, graduate students, in particular, are signing up for government programs intended to help make payments more affordable.