US study shows growing preference for brick

A recent United States study shows that consumers prefer genuine clay brick exteriors on a national scale. Scoring highest nationally among all ages, races, income levels and household types, brick ranked No.1 over stone, stucco, wood and fiber cement panels.

Brick houses are not common in the United States, and based on their popularity, timber-framed homes had always been considered to be the preferred choice. The new study indicates differently.

Regionally, brick ranked highest in five out of nine census divisions including the South, West and Pacific areas. The study, "What Home Buyers Really Want," was conducted last July by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Economics & Housing Policy Group.

New home buyers ranked energy efficiency as the most important factor - a key brick benefit from its exceptional thermal properties that keep homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Consumers also indicated how much more they are willing to pay for their preferences. Key findings are summarized in a recent Builderonline article.

“The study shows that home buyers trust brick to deliver on all fronts,” says Gregg Borchelt, president and CEO of the Brick Industry Association (BIA). “From its natural beauty and durability, sustainability, low maintenance, extreme weather resistance and higher resale value, there’s no substitute for genuine clay brick,” he said.

On a national level, respondents ranked brick highest at 34 percent,stone at 16 percent, stucco at 12 percent, wood at 7 percent and fiber cement at 5 percent. To get a brick home, respondents reported they would pay a preimum of $7,500 in additional costs. Ranked by price point, brick topped other home exteriors in the $150,000 to $499,000 range; brick ranked second to stone in the $500,000-plus range, with stucco following in third place.

An earlier 2010 study by the NAHB Research Center comparing moisture resistance among typical residential exteriors evaluated genuine clay brick as the highest in moisture resistance and dryness. Of the eight wall systems tested - accounting for approximately 90 percent of the cladding systems used today - brick walls performed the best overall in controlling moisture.