More than one-third of Americans have been forced to cut spending on essential items such as food and utilities to afford housing, according to a Freddie Mac study. About 42% of renters and 33% of homeowners have had to reduce the money spent on essentials, including food, to cover the cost of housing during the prior two years, the report said.
“Our research confirms much of what we see in our business every day: Affordability remains the essential factor when it comes to determining whether to rent or purchase a home, and the cost of housing is having a significant impact on households of every age, size and location,” said David Brickman, president and incoming CEO of Freddie Mac, as Yahoo reports.
Freddie Mac conducted the online survey from 4,040 respondents over the age of 18.
“While we tend to focus primarily on wages not keeping up with house prices and misperceptions of down payments, we should also recognize that for many millennials and Gen Xers, the basic cost of living has gone up,” said Brickman.
Student debt has more than doubled over the past decade to more than $1.6 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. Of millennials who rent, 51% said they based their choice of housing on their student loan payments.
Also 31% of renters and 45% of homeowners reported choosing cheaper housing to afford day care, according to Freddie Mac.
About 35% of homeowners who reported trouble affording housing in the past two years had to move to find a more affordable place to live, an increase of 9% since last August.