The well-documented and much-fretted over explosion in student loan debt could be doing serious damage to the housing market and auto industries, as graduates strive to avoid going deeper into debt, according to an analysis posted on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's blog. For the first time in at least a decade, people without student loan debt are more likely to have a mortgage than people with it.
The same trend can be seen in the auto loan market. And while the average total debt of students and non-students has remained in more or less lockstep since the financial crisis, that's because student borrowers decreased their non-sudent-loan debt by an average of $15,364 each to compensate for a $9,677 increase in student loan debt. "Highly skilled young workers have traditionally provided a vital influx of new, affluent consumers," the authors write. But "unprecedented student debt may dampen their influence in today's marketplace."