The Burden of Debt on Home Ownership

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According to the latest Freedom Debt Relief survey, 28% of Americans consider the cost of the down payment to be the biggest barrier to buying a home in 2019.  27% said a lack of overall savings was the biggest barrier, 26% said it was the cost of the monthly payment, and 19% said it was the amount of debt that they had.

When we look at the barriers to home ownership by generation we see that 43% of Gen Z consider the lack of overall savings to be the biggest barrier to buying a home in 2019.  36% said the cost of the monthly payment was the biggest barrier, and 35% said it was the down payment.

39% of Millennials said the cost of the down payment is the biggest barrier to buying a home in 2019. 36% said the overall lack of savings was the biggest barrier, and 31% said it was the the cost of the monthly payment. 25% said it was the amount of debt that they had.

When we looked at the types of debt Gen Z was carrying, 32% said they were paying back student loans, and 16% percent were paying back personal loans. Among Millennials, the debt portfolio was much more diverse, with 47% carrying credit cards debt, 35% carrying student loan debt, and 33% carrying auto loan debt. Gen X had a mixture of debt too, with nearly 55% carrying credit card debt, 40% carrying mortgage debt, 30% carrying auto loan debt, 20% carrying medical debt, and 18% carrying student loan debt.

As for the total amount of debt, that varied widely by generation as well. Nearly 40% of Gen Z said they had no debt. For Millennials, 34% said they had less than $10,000 in debt.

Finally, we asked about the biggest barrier to increase overall savings. Leading the way for every generation was the category of Everyday Expenses. In addition, 11% of Gen Z and 10% of the Silent Generation said they simply didn’t want to save.

Michael Micheletti serves as the Director of Corporate Communications at Freedom Financial Network where he is responsible for the strategic communications planning, knowledge dissemination and outreach to key consumer audiences. Before joining Freedom he held a variety of high profile communication and consumer education roles focusing on healthcare, tax and housing. He is a former reporter for FOX News, CNN and served as news director for Clear Channel Radio San Francisco.