Kelly Leighton

Last Updated: August 7, 2018 | View all posts by Kelly Leighton

Nearly 60 percent of millennials believe they have achieved the American dream or that is still attainable today.

According to Bank of the West’s annual Millennial Study, what is the most important part of achieving the American dream? It’s owning a home, said the majority of respondents. Two-thirds of millennials believe that homeownership is key. Being debt-free and retiring comfortably are also features that need to be achieved to accomplish the American dream, respondents said.

Still, 54 percent of millennials believe that the American dream is something they will be able to achieve in their lifetime. However, 23 percent said they no longer believe in the American dream, 13 percent said they never believed in it and 9 percent said it will never be attainable. Only 3 percent said they have already accomplished it.

Forty-two percent of millennials have already taken a step to achieve the American dream by becoming homeowners. Besides attaining the American dream, the top reason millennials chose to purchase a home is to feel a sense of stability (49 percent), because it makes more financial sense to own compared to renting (47 percent) and being able to modify the home (47 percent).

To be able to buy a home, most millennials plan to use savings, apply for a loan or use funds from their IRA or 401(k). Of millennials who are already homeowners, most used savings, used retirement accounts or applied for a loan. Of those who own, the biggest regrets millennials have are not anticipating the costs to maintain or realizing there was damage after moving in.

What would make millennial homebuyers leave their current property? The top reason is to purchase a bigger house, according to 46 percent. The safety of the neighborhood and the quality of school systems were the top other factors impacting millennials.

Overall, two-thirds of millennial women and more than three-quarters of millennial men are confident in their ability to invest in real estate, more than any other category.