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Gen X denied a mortgage more than any other generation, study shows

Sarah Paynter

Gen Xers may not be able to take advantage of the historically low mortgage rates: Applicants who are 40 to 54 years old are being denied home loans more than any other age group.

Mortgage lenders are denying Gen X applicants because of their low credit scores and high debt-to-income ratios, according to a new report released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors, which compiled responses from 5,870 homebuyers, between the ages of 22 and 94, from July 2018 to June 2019.  

“Generation X has a higher share of denied mortgages because they are most likely to have sold a distressed house or have been underwater during the recession, plus they may have taken on more debt from their children’s student loans,” said Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavior insights for the National Association of Realtors.


Mortgage lenders denied 7% of Gen Xers’ applications, compared to a 5% average denial rate across all other age groups. Last year, 6% of Gen Xers were denied loans compared to a 4% average denial across all applicants. 

Great Recession aftermath

A quarter of Gen Xers’ mortgages were denied because of their high debt-to-income ratios, and 25% were because of their low credit scores, the study shows. Debt and credit score concerns are leftover from impacts of the Great Recession over a decade ago, said Lautz.

Gen Xers are more likely to have lost money on their house in the Great Recession, said Lautz. The study found that 15% of Gen Xers have sold a distressed property since becoming a homeowner, the highest of any age group, compared to an average of 9% among all buyers.

Plus, many have taken on loans, including student loans for their children. Credit card debt was the biggest burden on Gen Xers, followed by student loan debt. As a consequence, debt has delayed Gen Xers’ homebuying plans an average of five years, compared to the average four-year deferral across all generations. 

“While there are a lot of myths about how each generation acts, Generation X does behave differently,” said Lautz. “They face different family pressures.”

Sarah Paynter is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @sarahapaynter

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