The first-time buyer: Brick vs frame

Hi again. I’ve always been a sucker for frame houses but as I continue my search for a home, everyone is urging me to consider brick. Then today, the Web site Chicago Metro Area Real Estate alerted me to a story in the Daily Herald about a University of Michigan study which concluded that homes with three sides of masonry sell at 2.5 percent higher than frame homes. The study, commissioned by some brick industry people (their Web site is Go Brick(!)), was based on home sales in Hoffman Estates, Streamwood, Orland Park and Tinley Park between 1978 and 2005.

Interestingly, the study found that masonry ordinances tend to close the gap in home prices between the north and south suburbs. Some of the community leaders quoted in the story said that they introduced brick ordinances in order to get some variety to the aesthetics of their neighborhoods. Ironically, brick has become the new bland in neighborhods in the city of Chicago. All these new condos and big-ass single-family homes look the same, which makes the old frame homes seem new again. But I’m going to consider the virtues of brick a little more closely in terms of resale and general quality. And there are some cute old brick houses around. What does everyone else think?

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