94% of Americans are not living in their ‘dream home’ — because they can’t afford it

CHICAGO — Nine in 10 Americans say owning a home is part of the American dream. However, a new poll finds nearly half of both millennials and Gen Xers believe they’ll never own their “dream home.”

The new survey of American renters and homeowners, commissioned by IPX1031, a subsidiary of Fidelity National Financial, actually found more commonalities between the country’s older and younger generations than differences — particularly when it comes to buying a “dream home.” A staggering 94 percent out of more than 1,000 respondents say they’re not currently living in their dream home and the top reason given is they simply cannot afford it.

More than half of millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers say their dream home will never become a reality however, two-thirds still say owning a home is a lifestyle choice and not a necessity.

Majorities of each generation say their ideal dream home would cost less than $499,000. Five states stand atop the list of places where Americans would ideally put their hypothetical dream homes: California, Florida, New York, Washington, and Colorado.

In what is perhaps a twist to some people’s grandiose plans for a “dream home,” more respondents say they’d prefer to be in the suburbs than either the beach or out in the country. Tied at the bottom of the geographical preference list were cities and mountain locations.

Dream Houses

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The survey delved into many of the details of homebuying preferences, including how potential homebuyers want to style their property. Top dream home architectural styles include modern, ranch, and Victorian. The top three interior design styles are modern, minimalist, and traditional, with 70 percent saying they would spend the most time in the living room of their dream home. The most popular number of bedrooms in a dream home is four, while Americans would like their ideal house to also have three bathrooms.

More than half (57%) say they’d prefer new construction over renovating a home and a similar share believe “land and privacy” are their top luxury amenities. “A view” comes in as the top feature desired in a dream home, with a “big backyard” and “large family room” following close behind.

Rates of current home ownership directly correspond to one’s age and decrease incrementally from oldest to youngest. Seventy percent of the oldest Baby Boomers own homes, while 65 percent of Gen X own homes, 50 percent of Millennials, and 42 percent of Gen Z, according to the survey data.

Gen Z, or Americans currently under the age of 25, are the most likely to say they desire to own two homes, with one serving as a vacation getaway. Forty-two percent of all respondents would visit a second vacation home once every three months, while 29 percent say they’d only go twice a year. The top dream vacation home locations include Florida, California, Hawaii, and Italy.


In September 2022, IPX1031 conducted a survey of 1,062 people from around the U.S. across four generations, Gen Z (ages 18-25), millennials (ages 26-41), Gen X (ages 42-57), and Baby Boomers (ages 58-70). Among respondents, 49% identified as male, 48% as female, and 3% as non-binary or transgender.

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