Real estate industry experts and researchers presented data and discussed the effects of student loan debt on millennials' ability to participate in the housing market and own a business, during a panel titled “Digging Out: Growing Your Business While Paying Off Debt” at the 2017 REALTORS® Conference & Expo.
According to Jessica Lautz, managing director of survey research and communication, millennials are incredibly entrepreneurial. “Many millennials want to start their own business, they want to be their own boss and they want to have flexible hours, and this makes real estate a very attractive career path.”
However, 40 percent of millennials surveyed said that student loan debt is keeping them from starting their own business.
The panel also discussed how brokerages are having a hard time not only recruiting but retaining millennials.
"We know that only 4 percent of REALTORS® began their career in real estate, and that real estate is usually a second or third career," said Lautz. "NAR research shows that many millennials who are currently paying off their student loans are unhappy in their current careers, making them prime candidates for recruitment into real estate."
Panelist Megan Hornsby, a REALTOR® with RE/MAX Preferred Associates in Ohio, discussed being a millennial graduate with $40,000 in student loan debt. "I had a salaried job in property management working 9-to-5, but the cost of living and renting meant that I wasn't putting a dent in any of that debt," said Hornsby. It wasn't until Hornsby bought her first investment property that she was able to start paying down her debt.
Student loan debt is keeping many millennials from being able to buy that property that can help them build equity, delaying those that rent an average of seven years.
For more information on how student loan debt is affecting not only the housing market, but all of the major financial milestones of millennials, view the NAR's Student Loan Debt and Housing Report.