This story was originally published in Builder.

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A new survey from Bank of America finds that 23- to 40-year-olds are placing homeownership above nearly all else, with 72% of millennials saying owning a home is a top priority, second only to being able to retire (80%), and far outranking marriage (50%) and having children (44%).

Millennials also tend to equate homeownership with personal (53%) and financial (45%) success. Prospective millennial buyers also associate the purchase of a home with being mature (47%), acting like an adult (47%), and feeling independent (36%).

“Younger generations tell us that owning a home has become a milestone that defines their success, and it’s promising to see them aspiring to homeownership,” said D. Steve Boland, head of Consumer Lending at Bank of America.

The latest Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report explores the attitudes, preferences and behaviors of the modern homebuyer. For the first time, the survey also took a closer look at current renters who plan to someday own a home.

The age-old question – to own or to rent – still looms for many. Current renters are torn, with 49% believing renting long-term will be more expensive than buying a home.

The other half of renters say renting will be just as or less expensive than owning. Yet, 69% believe their rent will continue to rise every year or every other year.

Furthermore, renters acknowledge that finances remain one of the top barriers to homeownership, with nearly half (44%) feeling they don’t have enough money for a down payment. 23% say they cannot afford the home they want.

Top renter misconceptions include:· 49% believe that 20% down is required to buy a home.
· 43% believe they must pay private mortgage insurance if they don’t put 20% down.
· Nearly one in four believe they need to have a “perfect” credit score to be considered for a mortgage.

“Interestingly, we see renters rethinking the long-term impact of renting vs. owning. They say renting will be just as or less expensive, but at the same time acknowledge their rental costs will continue to go up over time,” said Boland.

Those ready to leave renting behind aren’t going into homebuying blindly; they’re thinking through who to buy with, when to buy and where to buy.

While 57% of all first-time buyers plan to buy with a spouse or partner, others are increasingly venturing out on their own, with 37% saying they plan to purchase their first home solo.

Regardless of who they are buying with, first-time buyers are ready to act soon. Nearly two in five plan to buy in the next two years, and 60% of those soon-to-be buyers are already saving for a down payment.

Location is also a big part of the plan. 90% of first-time buyers would rather pay more for their preferred location than be in a less desirable location with lower home prices (10%). And 45% are looking to stay within their current neighborhood, city, county or township/school district, while just one in five is planning to buy out of state.

This story was originally published in Builder.