Study: Housing costs cut into food, utilities

From: Reading Eagle

More than a third of Americans have been forced to cut spending on essential items like 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 to cover the cost of housing during the prior two years, the report said. Overall, 62% of renters and 47% of owners reported struggling to afford housing.

Freddie Mac conducted the online survey over a four-day period. The poll collected data from 4,040 respondents over the age of 18, including 2,864 homeowners, 1,119 renters and 57 others.

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.

The cost of child care has also risen over the past 30 years, according to the report. About 31% of renters and 45% of homeowners reported choosing cheaper housing to afford day care, according to Freddie Mac.