The housing comeback is stumbling, in part, under the weight of student loan debt in excess of $1 trillion, former Federal Housing Administration head David Stevens told CNBC on Friday.
"Average college graduates, which is the first-time homebuyer, have $35,000 in student debt," Stevens, now chief executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association, said on "Squawk Box."
Couple that with the many Americans still having trouble paying their bills each month, he said, "it tells me we still have a ways to go in this recovery."
New research shows that 52 percent of U.S. adults have had to make at least one sacrifice in order to cover their rent or mortgage. While some people are feeling better about housing, 70 percent of the American public are not feeling relief, according a survey released by the MacArthur Foundation.
"Home prices ... are only halfway back to pre-recession levels," Stevens said. "The opportunity to get the market kick-started has to come with increased confidence."