Young Americans want to own a home. Research consistently shows large majorities who say they aspire to one day become homeowners. And yet, the number of first-time home buyers active in the market has been lower than what is historically normal for several years. So why aren’t more young Americans buying houses? Well there are a number of factors at play but, among them, student loan debt is a big one. According to one recent study, the average monthly student debt payment for current renters who say they’d like to buy a home in the next year is $388. Naturally, an extra $400 a month to devote to a mortgage payment could go a long way. In fact, with that money, a buyer could afford a house that cost almost $100,000 more. But though that may seem discouraging, the same report also found that prospective buyers with student loan debt can still afford 52.3 percent of homes currently listed for sale. And, in areas where there are more affordable homes available for sale, it’s even easier to find something in a price range that works. In St. Louis, for example, a buyer with student loan debt can still afford nearly 75 percent of currently listed homes. More here.