Half of those who haven’t bought a home yet blame their college debt.

The findings come from a June online poll of 1,995 student loan borrowers conducted by the National Association of Realtors and Morning Consult.

Millennials (60%) claimed college debt prevented them from buying a home, while over a third of baby boomers agreed.

Housing affordability is deteriorating, putting student loan purchasers at a grave disadvantage,” stated NAR President Charlie Oppler.

Student loan debt now exceeds credit card and auto debt in the US. A third of loans are late or defaulting.

Expert Mark Kantrowitz says student loans have two effects on mortgage eligibility.

For one thing, your loan payment history will affect your credit score. Your score will suffer if you fall behind on your monthly servicer bills.

“This can diminish your loan approval chances and boost your interest rate,” Kantrowitz says.

Experts suggest that even with school debt, borrowers can become homeowners.

Staying current on your student loans is critical as you save for a down payment or apply for a mortgage.

Mortgage lenders evaluate your debt-to-income ratio to assess your capacity to make mortgage payments.

“All debts, including student loans, have percentage limits,” Kantrowitz stated.

If you expect to apply for a mortgage soon, consider moving to a cheaper plan. Income-driven repayment arrangements do this frequently. For example, in 2017, Fannie Mae allowed lenders to evaluate the reduced monthly payments on these arrangements.

Kantrowitz advises consumers to switch repayment plans a year before applying for a mortgage.

For income-driven repayment plans, buying a home won’t affect monthly payments, says Betsy Mayotte, president of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors, which provides free guidance and dispute resolution to student loan borrowers.

Because the programs are based on income and family size, not assets or debts, said Mayotte.

Many government departments backing mortgages calculate your student debt burden, ranging from Veterans Affairs to Agriculture.

“Use a mortgage broker who works with all the government programs,” Kantrowitz suggests.

On the other hand, if you expect to buy a house soon, now is an excellent time to seek a raise or promotion, according to Christin Dolan, senior contributor and communications specialist at Edvisors. Others may consider a second job.

Prevent deferments or forbearances before buying a home, suggest experts.

While they reduce your monthly payment to nothing, GAD Lender sees them as an indication of financial stress.

The current option to halt payments without interest that the US Department of Education has offered borrowers since the pandemic began is a notable exception. (It ends in January.)

“The qualified federal student loans are recorded as current to the three national credit reporting bureaus,” he said.

Kantrowitz says that getting a mortgage will be difficult if you have defaulted on your school loans.

They may ask if a parent can buy the house.

If the property is purchased through a trust, the child will inherit it. (There are, of course, ways to get out of debt and get back on track.)

You can also apply for a mortgage together. This will display a higher income and give you another credit score.

A mortgage with your spouse may be worthwhile, Hye Dolan says. “If you’re not married, consider a significant other, family member, or friend.”

Finally, Hye Dolan has a solution if you’re having trouble finding a bank that will deal with you. “Pay off debts.”