Since 2004, the homeownership rate has declined from its all-time high of 69.2 percent to 63.4 percent as of the second quarter of this year. And, though the percentage of Americans who own their own home has declined among all age groups, the number of Millennial homeowners is particularly low. Millennials – typically defined as those between the ages of 18 and 34 – have been slow to enter the housing market and many analysts believe it is one of the chief reasons residential real estate has been slow to recover since the housing crash. And though there has been a spike in home sales this year and an increasing number of first-time buyers active in the market, their numbers remain low compared to historical averages. Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says student loan debt plays a role but isn’t solely responsible for the lower-than-normal number of young Americans buying homes. “The low homeownership rate among Millennials is still something of a puzzle,” Becketti said. “However, student debt plays a role – higher balances are associated with a lower probability of homeownership at every level of college and graduate education.” But while student loan debt has tripled over the past 10 years, the rate of homeownership among Americans with student loans was just one percent lower than the rate of those without student loans, indicating debt isn’t the only thing holding young buyers back. More here.