The millennial generation has the undivided, rapt attention of the real estate industry. Why? According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the National Association of Realtors said they were the largest group of home buyers, at 34 percent, from July 2015 until June 2016. Plus, more than 66 percent of these millennials plan on buying a home within the next five years and “roughly two-thirds of those buyers were also rookies (first-time homebuyers) according to a March 2017 report.”
Social media, such as Facebook, are helping to feed this buying frenzy among younger buyers. In the state of Colorado alone, the “Colorado First Time Home Buyers” Facebook page has more than 85,000 followers. Real estate brokers have come to realize that getting just the right “candid” photo of the millennial’s “new home” for posting on Facebook is essential for these social media denizens.
A recent report on this millennial effect on home sales was published by Inc. magazine. It noted that this is a research-driven culture this is “supported by the internet where everything they could ever possibly want to know is right at their fingertips.” This article also pointed out that “thanks to stagnating wages and a sharp increase in student loan debt, saving for that down payment isn't going to be easy. As a result, there isn't much cash left over after closing to make any updates millennials want, so they instead seek out homes that are fully updated and move-in ready.”
Several sources note that the millennials' wish lists for a home include updated kitchens and bathrooms, green features like solar panels, an open floor plan, a home office, a good location, and good internet and cell service. Almost half of millennials would rather buy a brand new house in order to avoid any maintenance issues that might occur early on. This line of thought is due to the fact that only 11 percent of millennials consider a home to be permanent anyway.
The Inc. report notes that “eventually, millennials plan to sell their starter home as 68 percent view it as a stepping stone to the home they really want and making improvements is not part of that plan. The average homeowner keeps their home for ten years, while the average millennial only keeps their home for six years.”
Brick Checks off the Five Boxes Millennials Care About
A brick home, particularly one that has been recently built, meets the rigorous criteria of these young homebuyers. Jay Cox and Jason Hamilton of Acme Brick note how brick construction “checks” off the five most important boxes for a millennial home buyer.
#1 Brick is authentic.
“Brick absolutely checks this box with millennial homebuyers due to its natural warmth, scale and the vast choice of colors,” said Jay Cox.” The flexibility to have industrial with traditional and modern looks, in shades of grey and white on both interior and exterior applications, come from these choices.”
“I completely agree with Jay,” said Jason Hamilton, who, in addition to working with architectural firms for Acme Brick, is himself a millennial. “I think there is a desire of people in my age group to have an authentic ‘community’ look and feel for the given area. Brick construction allows this to occur.”
#2 Brick is environmentally friendly.
“Brick is the ultimate environmentally friendly material,” Hamilton said. ““I like ‘real’ things that are made from real materials. Synthetic construction materials are just concrete with dye covering it. It’s not real. It’s masquerading as something real.
“I like natural products, whether it is brick, stone or even batten board siding. I also like homes that have a ‘story’ to them. That’s what’s nice about brick. It tells a story. It’s literally dirt that was dug up down the road and produced by people who live in your community. Synthetic siding and stucco doesn’t have this. They’re just products.”
“Brick exteriors and interiors are environmentally friendly due to the natural origins of the raw material,” said Cox. “The clean firing process, long life and recyclability of the hard fired clay products all make it extremely environmentally friendly.”
#3 Brick is energy efficient.
“No homeowner of any age wants to waste money on a home that is not energy efficient,” Cox said. “Millennials may be even more conscious of this due to their often tight finances. The thermal mass of a brick exterior adds insulation value to the home, which is important to the millennial homebuyer because it saves hundreds of dollars over the course of a year on utilities.”
#4 Brick requires very little maintenance.
As the research notes, millennial homebuyers are not interested in having to fix up a home. They want a home that requires little or no maintenance.
“Most homes constructed of wood or synthetic materials require painting every few years,” said Hamilton. “Brick never fades and never needs painting. This is huge issue for millennials home buyers.”
“The classic look of brick will last for hundreds of years,” said Cox. “This lack of maintenance is a very powerful selling proposition for millennial buyers.”
#5 Brick homes have high resale value.
“In most cases, the young, first-time homebuyer will sell their first home after a few years and upgrade to a larger house,” said Hamilton. “This means that they need to have immediate appreciation of their ‘starter’ home from the first mortgage payment. This is possible with brick construction.”
“Given that today a millennial is spending an average of six years in their first home,” Cox said, “brick is the perfect exterior for maximum resale without the need for update, repair or repaint. A brick exterior provides the ultimate in durability for today’s starter home buyer. They are confident in the hard fired brick investment appearing just as bright and new as the day they purchased their home.”
Why Brick is the Right Decision for a Millennial Buyer
“If you’ve ever built or purchased a new home, you know that there is a great deal of energy and excitement about the process,” Hamilton noted. “There’s so much enthusiasm associated with the purchase that we overlook things we wished we had done differently.
“For example, there is a residential development near Denton, Texas where most of the homes are constructed with siding. When these homes were new, there was a lot of engagement and enthusiasm by younger buyers. Unfortunately, after a few years, those homes are not as attractive as they used to be and, in fact, seem to be run-down. I have a friend who lives there and he has said more than once that he wished he had a brick house!
‘When you talk about construction materials that are native to the environment, in areas such as Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver and many other areas, brick is the native building material. The character of the communities is enhanced by this native material, and you can always feel good about brick.”
Cox sums up the appeal of brick construction for millennial buyers. “A brick home allows the new home buyer to focus on the other things that are important in their daily lives. A hard fired brick exterior requires no owner’s manual and is virtually maintenance free.”
For first-time home buyers, brick has its benefits. Contact us for more information.