The most expensive investment any individual or family makes is typically the purchase of a home. Whether it involves buying an existing home or building a new structure, when it comes time to sign the mortgage documents, the reality of this new financial responsibility can be very sobering.
In many cases, this "sticker shock" of a home purchase causes the buyer to consider just the asking price, rather than taking a longer-term view on the value of the home. Savvy home buyers know that there are other important considerations besides which home is cheaper. Some of these considerations include the costs for maintenance, home insurance, utilities and the appreciation in value of the home over the duration of the mortgage.
Brick Versus Wood Construction
"A home constructed of brick will cost more than a comparably sized wooden home in the same neighborhood," said Rusty Haile, Acme Brick Vice President of Sales. "This has been the case since ancient times. Brick is a stronger building material and delivers more long-term value than wood. Many brick homes that were constructed hundreds of years ago are still providing safe, secure shelter for families throughout the world. Few wooden homes last more than a couple of generations."
The durability of brick is just one reason to look past the higher asking price for a brick home.
"More and more of us – especially millennials– are concerned about environmental sustainability in our lives," Haile said. "Brick is the ultimate environmentally friendly, natural product. The clay is mined from the ground and then fired into its final form. It is virtually impossible to destroy and, as such, it can withstand fire, wind, water, hail and any other natural force.
"In addition, the appearance of brick is timelessly elegant. The wide range of patinas of brick are vibrantly rich and the colors never fade, even after centuries."
Aside from the environmental and aesthetic considerations, there are practical, "bottom-line" reasons for homebuyers to choose brick construction. In fact, there are at least ten thousand reasons!
The Typical Brick Home Can Save the Owner $10,000 a Year
While home prices and the costs for their upkeep vary from region to region in the U.S., conservative estimates, gathered from both high- and lower-cost-of-living areas, presented below suggest a compelling case for building with brick.
Brick Offers Huge Savings on Maintenance Expenses
One of the largest recurring expenses for homeowners is for maintenance of the home. This is where brick construction is far superior to any other building material. There is virtually NO maintenance required for a brick home.
"This means that there is no painting required for a brick home," Haile said. "Typically, a wooden home must be painted every five years or so. There are also no carpentry repairs needed for damaged outside and inside wooden walls. Plus, because brick is air-tight, there is no need to replace insulation every few years. And finally, a brick home will never have a termite problem, so this expense is no longer in the monthly budget."
Average Annual Savings on Maintenance:
Painting (Every five years, average cost $18,000): $3,600/year
Wooden Walls Repairs/Carpentry/Water Damage/New Insulation: $1,300/year
Termite Control: $525/year
Home Insurance Costs Less with a Brick Home
Insurance against natural disasters such as fire, wind, hail and rain can be extremely expensive, especially in areas that have a higher propensity for these (e.g., California, Colorado, Texas, Florida and others). Insurance carriers have long-term data suggesting that homes constructed of brick are less likely to be destroyed by these hazards.
"One of the most attractive aspects of a brick home is the savings the owner can enjoy on insurance premiums," said Haile. In fire-prone areas, where grassfires can destroy entire neighborhoods of wooden and vinyl siding homes, brick homes are virtually immune and, as a result, the cost for home insurance is less."
Average Annual Savings on Home Insurance:
Industry rates range from $350 – $2,000 per year with the national average: $1,400 per year.
Brick construction saves approximately 10% per year on insurance.
Home Insurance Savings: $140/year
Brick Construction Saves Homeowners BIG on Utilities
Creature comforts of any home – staying warm in the winter and cool in the summer – account for a hefty amount of expenses in the form of utilities payments. While these expenses can vary from family to family, based on their diligence in power and heat conservation ("OK. Who left the light in the kitchen on?"), reduction of utility expenses can result in substantial savings.
"Because of its mass, brick stores energy more efficiently than wood or synthetic construction materials," said Haile. "When this is combined with thermal mass insulation systems, outside weather elements, whether they are heat or cold, are kept where they belong – outside. Depending on the range of temperatures of a given area over the course of a typical year, these savings can be dramatic."
Average Annual Savings on Utilties:
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates an average of $340 per month, or an annual expense of $4,080 for utilities.
Properly insulated brick construction saves a homeowner about 20% per year.
Utilities Savings: $816/year
Brick Homes = Greater Appreciation in Resale Value
Whether due to job changes, family growth or other reasons, most homeowners move every few years. When this occurs, one of the best things about brick construction is revealed.
"Homes constructed of brick begin to appreciate in value as soon as the mortgage papers are signed," Haile said. "While wooden or synthetic constructed homes may increase a small amount each year, (usually based on the supply of homes in the area), brick homes begin to grow in resale value in the first year and continue to grow each year thereafter. It is interesting note that when a brick home is constructed, it is larger than a siding house by several inches in each wall dimension. This extra linear wall space makes the home appraise for a higher value.
"When it comes time for the family to move, this is a very meaningful consideration. Based on historical averages, the value of the brick home appreciates about $3,629 per year. This goes directly to the homeowner's 'bottom line' when the property is sold."
Average Annual Savings on Home Resale Value:
Home Value Savings: $3,629/year
The Numbers Tell the Story - $10,010 per year saved
Based on the annual savings of greater than $10,000 on maintenance, insurance, utilities and the increase in resale value, homes constructed of brick are simply a better value than those made of wood or synthetic materials. The initial costs for construction may be slightly higher for brick but the old adage has never been more true – you get what you pay for.
Are you thinking about building a new home? Contact us for more information on the value of brick construction.