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Students Face Challenges Over Home Buying

By Allison Halliday | September 5, 2014

Buying your first home is never a cheap process and most of us will initially struggle, but it is much more difficult for students who can graduate with substantial amounts of debt. This means they often need to earn substantially more money in order to buy a home.

An estimate by RealtyTrac found students typically need annual salaries of approximately one third more compared to those first time buyers without student debt. This equates to around $8,700. ReatlyTrac arrived at this figure by taking the median home price for each county and state, and calculating the minimum amount needed to qualify for a loan on this home. This assumed the buyer had a 20% deposit and was based on a 30 year 4.13% loan.

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The article in the Wall Street Journal does point out that this figure is dependent on where the student is living, and the average amount of student debt can vary from state to state. Interestingly, some of the areas with the most expensive housing also have the lowest rates of student debt. A good example is California, where house prices are amongst the highest in the country, yet it has one of the lowest levels of student loan debt.

Those states where graduates with student loans need to make more income to qualify for loans, compared to those without debt include Pennsylvania at 49%, Ohio at 53% and Michigan at 55% and Rhode Island at 56% and Connecticut at 58%. In comparison, students in California only need to earn 12% more than graduates without student loan debt. This figure is 17% for New York and Virginia, rising to 19% for those in Wyoming, and to 20% for graduates in Utah.

The good news is that graduates with student loans, and who are earning the median household income for the US are able to afford the monthly payments on median priced homes in 96% of the markets analyzed by RealtyTrac.

Apparently a graduate with a bachelor’s degree can expect a starting salary averaging $45,000, but is likely to have an average of $33,000 debt, a figure that has tripled in the last two decades. However other figures show that graduates who have managed to find well-paid jobs are pretty lucky, as around 40% of those unemployed are millennials, and many are either college age or recent graduates. In addition, recent graduates with student loans seem to find it harder to build wealth.

Allison Halliday is a Realty Biz News contributing writer. She handles International Real Estate and is a seasoned blogger.
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