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Boomers ‘siding’ with brick for homes, report reveals

Several surveys in recent months have discussed millennials and why they're changing the face of real estate. But with baby boomers still comprising a major portion of the residential home buying sphere, they're more literally changing its face, due to their increased interest in homes built with brick exterior, a recent survey reveals.

Earlier this year, the National Association of Home Builders released a report on the housing preferences of the baby boomer generation. Ranging between 52 and 70 years of age, baby boomers were at one time the largest generation in America. Only recently have they been outnumbered by millennials, according to a government study conducted last summer.

Not surprisingly, nearly two-thirds of baby boomers prefer a single-family detached home when they're in the market to take out a mortgage, the NAHB study revealed. This is in line with the general public, with 65 percent preferring this style of residence.

70 percent point to brick as exterior of choice
Where the sentiment was even more overwhelming was in the kind of siding used. Seventy percent of respondents in the poll said brick was their exterior of choice, the NAHB poll discovered. Brick ranked ahead of wood, vinyl-covered aluminum, fiber cement and stucco. Only 5 percent of both baby boomers and buyers said brick was their least desirable choice.

Ray Leonhard, president and CEO of the Brick Industry Association, noted that the NAHB's analysis speaks to the fact that brick – as old as it may be – never goes out of style.

"This survey shows that baby boomers and others not only prefer brick over other exterior wall cladding materials, brick is the least disliked among other materials," Leonhard explained. "Home builders are more likely to appeal to potential buyers if they build a house with brick versus other competing material."

Basements, which also tend to be built with brick, are also a feature that many boomers prefer to have, the NAHB survey highlighted.

Household formations largely among boomers
As has been widely reported, housing starts have foundered in recent months, mainly due to the pace of demand and builders inability to finish projects as quickly as buyers enter the market. Interestingly, however, baby boomers have been in the lead lately when it comes to household formation. As noted by the National Association of Realtors, when contrasting the first six months of 2014 with the same period in 2015, baby boomers – specifically 65- to 74-year-olds – accounted for 860,000 new households. When including those between 55 and 64, the figure jumped to 1.2 million.

Historically low interest rates have served as a major incentive for buyers to apply for mortgages, as it's only a matter of time before they go up. For well over a year now, though, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages have remained below 4 percent, according to archived data from Freddie Mac. For the week ending June 2, 30-year FRMs averaged 3.6 percent, down from 3.8 percent compared to the same period the year before.

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