When it comes to buying a home, certain obstacles, including poor credit, increasing housing prices and job insecurity, can stand in the way. But for young people in particular, there are two main problems: student loan debt and expensive down payments.
That's according to real estate website PropertyShark, which surveyed more than 2,100 U.S. renters, owners and people living with family, "to better understand the difference in attitude" toward homeownership between millennials and those in Generation Z and Generation X.
Over a third, or 35 percent, of millennials say "the down payment" is their biggest obstacle to buying a home. That could be because millennials have saved an average of $24,820 and median savings of only $2,430, according to an analysis by MagnifyMoney. Almost 20 percent cite "student debt," 16 percent say "credit score," 13 percent say "increasing home prices," 10 percent say "economic factors," and 9 percent say "job insecurity."
For those in Gen Z, the No. 1 obstacle is student debt and the No. 2 obstacle is the down payment. And for frustrated would-be homeowners from Gen X, 31 percent say the down payment is to blame, while 21 percent point to credit scores.
PropertyShark: Biggest obstacles to buying a home
All three generations agree that the down payment is one of the most significant obstacles, which makes sense. The average down payment on a home is 20 percent, reports financial site SmartAsset. With a national median home price just under $280,000, a typical down payment would be a whopping $56,000.
The burden of student loans, which weighs especially heavily on younger generations, doesn't help, either. More than 44 million Americans have borrowed to pay for school, and their debt surpasses $1.4 trillion. The average debt for 20-year-olds is $22,135 and for 30-year-olds, it's $34,033.
"Millennials may be the largest category of homebuyers right now, but half of the Americans born between 1980 and 1995 still rent," says PropertyShark, and that's "just as many as their younger Gen Z peers."
Because of loans and high down payments, many young people "who aspire to own their own place have been locked into the rental market far longer than previous generations," the report explains. "This, in turn, has been pushing rental rates to the highest they've ever been — a boon for multifamily investors, but that rent burden coupled with college debt continues to keep many from saving enough for a down payment."