Think the Great Australian dream of owning your own home is over? Not at all! It seems we are still dreaming (to reference the iconic Aussie movie, The Castle).
All evidence shows that Australians still yearn for their home in the suburbs, and they want it to be made of brick.
A 2017 behaviour and attitudes study commissioned by industry association Think Brick Australia showed that while 64% of Australians live in a brick home, even more (75%) of the people surveyed are looking at choosing brick exteriors when building a new home or adding a major extension to their home, a statistic has been consistently high for many years.
Brick is by far and away our preferred building material – more than six times as many houses are built of brick than weatherboard, and there are eight times as many brick homes than fibre cement (fibro).
According to Jai Sanderson, General Manager Marketing for the PGH Bricks & Pavers business at CSR Limited, “Australians have always loved a brick home – fly over any Aussie city and it will be a sea of brick in all shades. Most of us have grown up with brick houses; it’s almost part of our DNA”.
Indeed, 88% of people surveyed said they grew up with the impression that brick is best, while 84% agreed with the statement that you can create a contemporary home with face brick, showing that brick has evolved with our design sense.
Additionally, Australians love the fact that brick offers more possibilities to create a unique look (87%) and that brick gives a better return on investment (73%). Increasingly too, prospective homeowners are seeing the eco-benefits of brick, with its superior heating and cooling attributes.
“Right now there has never been so much choice using brick and exploring brick-inspired design possibilities for Australians embarking on their journey to build their dream home,” says Sanderson.
Bricks are no longer just bricks.
“From sophisticated neutrals in smooth whites, off-whites, concrete greys and charcoals; to industrial chic and contemporary rustic looks in sandstocks and recycled -look bricks, there is an option for every home", she adds.
“You can even try classic deep reds re-imagined in contemporary design applications, to ignite inspiration for everyone.”
There might be media reports that we are becoming a nation of renters, but the figures show it’s not the case. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that we’re still largely home owners, or aspirational home owners, with 31% of Australian homes owned outright and 34% owned with a mortgage – leaving just 31% being privately rented, according to the last Census.
Of course, some things have changed over the years – the size of the house we want, the number of children we plan to fit into the walls and where our bricks-and-mortar is situated.
There has been a change in the style of home we are hankering for – it’s not always the big house on the quarter-acre block anymore. While separate houses still account for most homes in Australia (72%), there’s been a large increase in other forms of dwellings, such as flats, apartments, semi-detached, row housing or town housing, which now make up more than a quarter (26%) of Australian housing – all higher density residential development.
But again, they are mostly made of brick.