Ever wonder about the effects of long-term debt on your customers? Since buying a home is the biggest financial commitment most Americans will make, the impacts of debt are definitely of interest to U.S. builders.

A new study by Gallup reveals that debt affects low-income consumers more than those of greater means, but found that in some ways consumers with no debt act the same as their in-debt counterparts.

What is notable is how often Americans who are debt-free engage in the same behaviors as those with debt, possibly illustrating the broader effects of the current economic climate. More than one-third of those who are debt-free say they put off a major purchase (35%), and almost one-quarter put off buying a car (24%). Fourteen percent say they have sold some of their possessions to make ends meet. Almost half engaged in at least one of the 10 activities included in the survey (48%).

However, these percentages pale in comparison to Americans who carry some debt. More than four in 10 of those who carry some debt say they put off a major purchase (46%), and more than three in 10 put off buying a car (31%). Sixty-three percent of debt-carrying Americans have engaged in at least one of the 10 included actions while just less than half of those who are debt-free have done so (48%).

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