Surveys show American millennials are struggling to save money for down payments and are likely to put off buying a home or absorb significant debt when they do. AP economics writer Josh Boak takes a look at such factors as housing prices eclipsing pay increases.

A survey of 30,000 renters by Apartment List reveals that 37% of millennial renters have no savings at all for a down payment. Those who are saving have put aside just $5,830 on average, or one-fifth of the typical 20% for an average 175,000 starter home. This lack of saving could lead to many possibilities:

One possibility— already evident in some markets— is that first-time buyers are making smaller down payments and paying mortgage insurance or slightly higher interest rates on mortgages. Excess housing debt roughly a decade ago inflated a housing bubble and then triggered a market crash that led to the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression more than 80 years ago.

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