NEW YORK ( MainStreet)—Make no bones about it: many Millennials have given up the American dream of homeownership. Saddled by student loan debt and jaded by the Great Recession, Millennials don't feel the need to take on a mortgage as had been a hallmark of adult independence in generations past.

To explore this trend, we spoke to a handful of Gen Yers for the inside scoop on the motivating factors behind their aversion to the white picket fence.

"I Keep Thinking About the Hidden Costs'

Name: Roni W.
Age: 29
Location: Westchester County, N.Y.
Job: Event producer and social media consultant within the travel industry

Roni grew up in the suburbs of Seattle and currently lives with his girlfriend, their daughter and his girlfriend's parents. Given his own upbringing in suburbia, you'd think he'd harbor dreams of owning his own home. Yet despite his background and the fact that he has a family, a house seems more trouble than it's worth. "After years of seeing the work that goes into upkeep, hearing about insanely high property taxes, and just being aware of the constant mortgage costs, I really have no desire for a house," he told us. Watching many acquaintances struggle to sell houses they no longer want may have been the nail in the coffin.

Walking around with their daughter, his girlfriend sometimes plays a fantasy game in which she asks him if, hypothetically, he wants a certain house if they got it for free. "She now knows she has to include property taxes and a slew of free personnel in this hypothetical to get me to even consider the possibility," Roni said.

"Today's Job Market Requires Us to Be Flexible"

Name: Nina I.
Age: 30
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Job: IT project manager

As a single mom of a 2.5-year-old son, you might think that Nina would seek to set roots down for her young family. Rather, she stresses that geographical flexibility may be an even better tool for earning a stable income. "Having a house would make me feel tied down, and I think there would be hesitation in taking a job that may advance my career," she said. In the last eight years alone, she has taken job opportunities in three different cities—which is what brought this Cincinnati native to Belgium in the first place.

Nina thinks the tide of society has shifted from placing value in the property you own, to the opportunities you seize: "My older brother, who is from a different generation, puts a lot of value and self-worth into the idea of what kind of house he owns. I, on the other hand, put my value and self-worth on whatever opportunities I can seize for myself ... I think in this job market you have to be flexible on where you work if you really want to advance."