What Does the American Dream Home in 2015 Look Like?

By Jennifer Riner of Trulia
The “American Dream” is an ideology ingrained in the Constitution – the right to, “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The American Dream is commonly associated with homeownership, as such a large investment typically indicates financial stability and adulthood.

A recent Trulia study on homeownership revealed that 71 percent of 2,026 responders expressed interest in buying a home one day. While the majority of Americans still plan to own over rent, the buyer demographic and the cookie-cutter “dream home” differs from past generations of homebuyers.

To better understand today’s aspiring buyer, Trulia also asked respondents about age, dream home size, style, location and amenities. Here are the results:

Millennials are in the Majority 

Young renters, ages 18 to 34, are even more motivated to purchase their own homes than the average American. In fact, 89 percent plan to buy a home one day, compared to only 40 percent of Baby Boomers. Perhaps this is a response to astronomical rent prices and historically low mortgage rates. Currently, a monthly mortgage is more affordable than renting for most areas of the country. Unfortunately, mortgages aren’t the sole cost of homeownership, which is why 36 percent of Millennials are currently saving up to buy their own homes. In order to benefit from low monthly mortgage payments, future buyers must provide down payments – and more cash upfront equals lower monthly mortgage payments with shorter loan terms. Even though they are still in the planning process, 72 percent of the millennials surveyed said they plan to buy a home in 2018 or later, only sooner if marriage or kids were in the picture. 

Practical Supersedes Extravagant 

Surprisingly, most Americans who have a dream home size in mind don’t want a lavish, oversized mansion. While 22 percent of Americans are unsure of their dream home’s exact square footage, 23 percent prefer a home between 2,001 and 2,600 square feet, which was the most popular size amongst Millennials and Generation X. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, prefer something even more manageable. A quarter of people ages 55 and over said their dream home lies between 1,401 and 2,000 square feet. 

Style Varies Amongst Age Groups 

Similar to size, Millennials and Gen X have the same taste in home styles, too. The majority of both groups prefer modern homes with new technologies installed. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, would rather live in single-story homes, where stairs and accessibility aren’t an issue. The majority of all respondents said they prefer an “other” style home, which may include a townhouse, houseboat or more unique home with international flair. 

Suburban Life Reigns Supreme 

Much like the home buyers of the ‘50s, today’s buyers prefer the countryside and suburbs over the hustle and bustle of the city. Only 8 percent of Americans prefer to live downtown, compared to 27 percent who want to sprawl out in the countryside and 27 percent who care for the suburban lifestyle. Millennials, specifically, are a bit less stringent with their locales, as long as they can get to work faster and live within a high-rated school district. 

Outdoor Entertaining is a Must 

Why buy a home if you can’t show it off at your next dinner party or outdoor gathering? That might be part of the reason most Americans (59 percent) have decks on their dream home must-have lists. Balconies with views, open floor plans, vegetable gardens and gourmet kitchens are other popular amenities to note. Gen Y prefers all of these amenities packed into one property. Gen X, on the other hand, puts greater emphasis on decks and kitchens over balconies and swimming pools. Finally, 37 percent of respondents ages 55+ want alfresco space for vegetable gardening, the highest of any other group.

Now that you know what the majority of Americans want in a home, you can help buyers fulfill their dreams by investing, renovating and reselling real estate. If you’re on the hunt for homes for investment purposes, check out private lender programs with Center Street Lending! While located in California, Center Street also services Arizona, Washington, Colorado, Utah, Texas, Florida, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.