This Is What the American Dream Home Looks Like (and Costs)

Large cobbled driveway in front of an impressive red brick English design mansion surrounded by old trees.
KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Most Americans (90%) still consider owning a home to be part of the American dream, a recent IPX1031 survey found. But what does that dream home look like?

Holiday Spending: Get Top Holiday Shopping and Savings Tips
Read: Should You Still Buy a Home in Today’s Market?

To find out, the survey asked more than 1,000 Americans from all generations about what they consider to be their ideal home’s location, cost and features. Here’s what they said.

Where Is the American Dream Home Located?

According to the survey, the top states for owning a dream home are California, Florida, New York, Washington and Colorado.

As for what type of location is ideal, the majority of Americans (28%) prefer to live in the suburbs. Other popular locations include by the beach/water (22%) and in the country (20%). Just 15% of Americans said they would want to live in a city or in the mountains.

When it comes to choosing a location for a home, 55% of Americans said they value peace and quiet the most.

How Much Does the American Dream Home Cost?

The majority of Americans across most age groups say their dream home costs under $250,000. That’s the preferred price among 32% of Gen Z, 27% of millennials and 35% of baby boomers. Gen X is willing to pay more, with the majority (27%) saying that their dream home costs between $250,000 and $499,999.

Building Wealth

Based on the desired locations, this pricing may be more of a dream than a reality, especially among the age groups with an ideal price cap of $250,000. The median home value is $765,495 in California, $406,876 in Florida, $412,141 in New York, $610,121 in Washington and $575,013 in Colorado, according to Zillow. It’s about $400,000 in the U.S. overall, according to Redfin.

Take Our Poll: How Has Inflation Impacted Your Holiday Shopping Plans?

What Does the American Dream Home Look Like?

Americans prefer a modern home, as this is the top architecture style and interior design style among those surveyed. Other popular architecture styles include ranch, Victorian, farmhouse and cabin. As for interior design, other popular design styles include minimalist, traditional, contemporary and eclectic.

The majority of Americans said their dream home has four bedrooms (35%) and three bathrooms (38%). The most-wanted features include a view (64%), a big backyard (62%), a large family room (61%) and a front porch or balcony (58%). In terms of luxury features, 59% desire land and privacy, 48% would like a hobby room and 42% want a home theater.

How To Afford Your Dream Home

Although Americans have a clear picture of what their dream home is, 94% said they are not currently living in their dream home, with the top reason being they can’t afford it. And while you may not be able to afford a California beachside mansion, if you are willing to make some concessions, you can find a home that fulfills your needs — and hopefully some of your wants, too.

Building Wealth

If you’re an aspiring homebuyer, consider taking the following steps to help make your homeownership dreams a reality:

  • Reevaluate your current saving and spending. You may need to make some adjustments to afford your new home. “The top three financial actions taken towards buying a home are lifestyle adjustments (such as reducing non-essential expenditures), establishing monthly budgets to help curb unnecessary spending and efforts to improve credit score, including monitoring debt and credit fluctuations,” said Sean Grzebin, head of consumer originations for Chase Home Lending.
  • Determine how much you need for a down payment. “Not all mortgage loans require the same down payment,” Grzebin said. “Some lenders might require up to a 20% down payment, while others require as little as 3% of the home’s purchase price based on the loan type.”
  • Look into down payment assistance programs. “Many people may be considering down payment assistance options, and thankfully there are many down payment assistance programs available for buyers,” Grzebin said.
  • Be prepared. “Prospective buyers should work with a home lending advisor and real estate agent to ensure they get pre-qualified for a loan, understand what they can afford and are knowledgeable about the market in order to provide a competitive, yet reasonable offer based on the property and the market,” Grzebin said.

More From GOBankingRates

Share This Article:

Building Wealth

About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 
Learn More