In the midst of the Great Recession, some viewed the emphasis of homeownership as a misplaced priority, baiting unprepared buyers into unsustainable circumstances that fed the mushrooming housing crisis. But as the country has rebounded from the housing crisis blues, owning a home is returning to its position of primacy.

“A home represents safety, security and permanence,” said Burdick, “and having all of those things is healthy, socially enriching and financially smart — and that’s kind of what that dream is about.”

Burnett agreed.

“I think it’s absolutely 100 percent part of the American dream,” he said. “I don’t think anybody’s really saying, ‘I only want to rent for the rest of my life.’” As a recent millennial homeowner, Burnett said that he definitely feels closer to achieving that dream.

“I see it in all the people I help when they buy their first home,” said Curran. “There’s a hunger for understanding. ‘How do I become a homeowner?’ People go to such great lengths to gather information and to prepare because it’s so important to them. You’re not going to fight for it if you don’t really want it.”