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Here’s how much harder it is for people without college degrees to buy a home

Reuters/Jason Reed
For sale, to some.
By Amy X. Wang
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Young people who have the hardest time settling down aren’t those suffering under the burden of student debt—they’re the ones who didn’t get a college diploma at all. Not graduating from college can make it up to three times as difficult to buy a home, according to new research.

Apartment List, a rental listing site, surveyed 31,000 people on their personal finances. It found that on top of making less money, non-college grads also tend to receive less generous financial help from friends and family; the average college grad with no debt gets more than $8,000 of help, while non-grads get around $2,000.

All of that means it takes a long, long time for non-grads to lock down the down-payment money for a starter home, which is defined in Apartment List’s study as the medium offering in the bottom third of the housing market.

And it’s even worse in crowded urban areas. According to the research, in a city like San Jose, California (the priciest city for home ownership after San Francisco), it would take a college grad without debt about 4.5 years to save for a new home, while a non-grad would need a staggering 48 years—almost 11 times longer.

Home ownership in the US is dropping overall, but it seems policymakers who are worried about that trend—particularly those in states with low college graduation rates—should be examining problems of educational access and student debt levels when considering what action to take.

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