Most Americans say their homes are better than the ones they grew up in but, in a blow to the American dream, few expect their children's homes to be nicer, according to a poll released recently.

And 57 percent of those polled said they are "very satisfied" with their homes, according to the survey of 1,200 college-educated adults conducted by Louis Harris and Associates for "The Pier 1 Study of the American Home."

Ninety-four percent of those surveyed said their home is the best or among the best investments they ever made. And surprisingly, 64 percent said they were spending the right amount on mortgage payments.

But most people were less optimistic about their children's future homes. Only 43 percent said they expect their children to have better homes than the ones they grew up in, the report said.

This pessimism does not appear contagious, however, because every college graduate under 30 surveyed who wants to own a home believes he or she will, the survey said.

"This study suggests that with respect to home, the American dream of an improved life for each new generation may be reaching its limit," said Clark Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Pier 1 Imports, a home furnishings firm.

"This finding is particularly notable because the study suggests that the expectations of today's young generation with respect to home are undiminished."

Most people chose a throwback to the 1950s -- a suburban house with three bedrooms, a great view, a swimming pool and close to shopping, schools, recreation and work, the report said.

Other favorites noted in the survey were a house in a small town or a farmhouse. Attached town houses and apartments in the city were low on the list of desired homes, the study found.

"With the change in the traditional American family unit, the completed postwar development of major suburban areas and the rediscovery and revitalization of the inner city, one might think America's suburban dream had changed," Johnson said. "It simply is not so for college graduates. Furthermore, there is a strong preference for suburban life styles on the part of nearly everyone in this group."

Only 47 percent said it is important that their home is a sign of having "made it," the survey said. More important, according to 93 percent, is a home that provides a haven from the pressures of the outside world, the survey said.

Home trimmings that broadcast affluence also ranked low. Tennis courts, a greenhouse and central air conditioning drew less than 2 percent of the survey group's interest. And only 7 percent said they wanted sauna or whirlpool, according to the survey.

The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.