NeighborWorks America at Home survey: People with student loan debt delay homeownership


Women and millenials least likely to achieve homeownership

Washington, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — People saddled with student loan debt are delaying purchasing a home and many worry about their college debt most or all of the time, according to the sixth annual NeighborWorks America at Home survey. The survey, released today, reveals that people with the most debt—millennials and women—are underrepresented among homeowners, and large numbers are unaware of resources and counseling that can improve their prospects of owning their own home.

NeighborWorks America

Nationally, student loan debt now surpasses $1.5 trillion and comprises 42 percent of all consumer debt. Millennials are shouldering most of the ballooning student loan debt, which has risen 130 percent since 2008. Women carry nearly two-thirds of the total, or almost $900 billion.

The NeighborWorks America survey offers insight into current attitudes about renting and owning a home, the process of buying a home, and the impact of student debt and other dynamics on homeownership. The study was conducted in August with an online panel of 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older in August. In particular, the survey found:


  • 29 percent of women are burdened with student loan debt, compared to 23 percent of men.
  • 48 percent of women of color have student loan debt, compared to 22 percent of white women and 15 percent of white men.
  • 50 percent of women with student loans worry about the debt all or most of the time.
  • 53 percent of women of color and 46 percent of white women said they are unfamiliar with nonprofits that offer student loan debt counseling for free or at a low cost.
  • 38 percent of women say they know someone who has delayed buying a home because of student loan debt.

Millennials (Ages 18-34)

  • 57 percent are burdened with student debt.
  • 59 percent say either they or someone they know has delayed purchasing a home due to student loan debt.
  • 56 percent with student loans worry about the debt some or most of the time.
  • 46 percent are not aware that local nonprofits offer student loan debt counseling for free or at a low cost.

“It’s important for people to have the tools and resources they need to be informed consumers from the moment they consider owning a home,” says Karen Hoskins, acting vice president of homeownership programs and lending at NeighborWorks America. “A housing counselor can guide them through what often seems a daunting, confusing process. They also will benefit by thinking about nonprofits as helpful sources of services and information. Down-payment assistance is especially helpful for homebuyers who struggle because of student loan debt.”

For more information on the sixth annual NeighborWorks America at Home survey, visit  Editor’s note: Finn Partners conducted the national survey in August of 2018 with an online panel of 1,000 adults ages 18 or older. Previous surveys dating back to 2013 are archived.
About NeighborWorks America
For nearly 40 years, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. (d/b/a NeighborWorks America), a national, nonpartisan nonprofit, has created opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and safe, affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $34 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation’s leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals.

Lindsay Moore


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