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“Resumption of Student Loan Payments Raises Concerns About Impact on US Housing Affordability”

The affordability crisis battering US housing market could get even worse as student loan payments restart this fall, according to a recent survey of over 100 housing experts.

58% of polled experts believe that the resumption of student loan payments could have a significant impact on mortgage affordability, according to a recent analysis conducted by Pulsenomics. 35% of experts believed the resumption of payments could significantly hit the US homeownership rate, and 26% believed it could significantly impact the mortgage delinquency rate, the research firm added.

Student loan payments will kick back in at a time when housing affordability is already strained. The US homeownership rate slipped to which slipped to 65.9% over the second quarter, Fed data shows, while delinquencies at 30 large mortgage servicers rose to 3.16%, according to an analysis from Inside Mortgage Finance.

The effects of the student loan payment restart may be felt for years to come, too. 38% of experts said the impact on mortgage affordability could last for up to two years, while 43% of respondents believed it could last for three or more years.

Student loan payments are set to resume on October 1, ending a three-year payment pause that began during the pandemic. Economists have warned that could weigh heavily on economy, and on housing in particular. Around 70% of student loan borrowers are between the ages of 25-49, according to US Department of Education data, meaning they’re around their prime homebuying years.

The average borrower, meanwhile, has an debt balance of $38,000. That makes the average student loan payment around $502 a month, according to an estimate from the Education Data Initiative, or around 20% of the estimated median US monthly mortgage payment of $2,605.

In a separate survey conducted by Morgan Stanley, only 29% of borrowers said they were confident they would be able to make their student loan payments, while 34% said they would be unable to make payments at all.

Additionally, 31% of respondents said they were worried about making debt payments and 27% said they were worried about making rent or mortgage payments, with both measures notching an all-time-high.

Affordability conditions in the US housing market are already the worst buyers have seen in decades. That’s largely due to high mortgage rates and a dearth of available housing supply, which has kept home prices elevated over the past year even as demand has fallen.

— Business Insider

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