Are 3D Printed Houses the Future of Real Estate?

3D Printed houses have the potential to reimagine the housing supply in the U.S. They have some serious advantages that any real estate investor should consider keeping their eye on in the future.

3D printed houses are a game-changer for the real estate industry. It may have sounded like a fantasy in the past, but construction companies are ramping up production for 3D housing and it’s very real. In the current housing market, we are seeing shortages across the U.S. leaving home buyers without many options.

Now that 3D printing is breaking ground, it’s making a growing contribution towards stabilizing the housing supply and demand. Though only a small share of the current market, it has potential to grow given the increasing popularity of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). That’s why we made this guide covering everything investors need to know about 3D printed houses.

What are 3D printed houses?

This next generation type of alternative property type is typically made off-site. Unlike 2D printers which only print on two dimensional surfaces (just like a traditional office), 3D printers build three dimensional objects. They are produced out of a combination of materials where they are layered on top of each other. It’s used to build complete engineered prototypes. In this case, prototypes of houses with extremely high-quality materials.

What are 3D printed houses made of ?

Engineering software is used to create and scale the model of the house. Once the blueprint is established, the code is delivered to the printer. High-quality materials (such as concrete) are inserted into the 3D printer where it shapes it layer by layer. When the base has been formed, the manufacturers handle most of the exterior details by hand. The roof, windows, and door are crafted and assembled with the paint coming last.

Houses created with 3D printing are known for durability and quality. They are usually made with a mixture of materials. It’s also a process known for being better for the environment than traditional construction practices. Here’s a few examples of popular materials that 3D houses are made out of:

  • Concrete
  • Castable clay
  • Mortar
  • Synthetic polymers
  • Recyclable materials (like plastic)

Concrete is the most popular choice for 3D printed houses. It’s flexible and is combined with other materials for added strength. New customized building fabrications are possible with 3D printed concrete that also lowers construction costs. Some companies produce up to 2 tons of 3D printed concrete every hour creating a streamlined process.

Environmentally friendly

3D printed houses don’t rely on the same technology as traditional construction practices. 3D printing instead uses a new creative approach that engineers use to create a safer working environment that focuses on making our environment better. One materials technology company reports that their process cuts down 60% of CO2 emissions thanks to their concrete.

Traditional concrete production burns limestone and burns toxic fumes in the air. While it’s a hard number to get to zero, cutting down a significant portion is a fantastic step in the right direction. 3D printing companies are producing at an eco-friendly rate that aligns with the guidelines in the Paris Agreement.

The more 3D printing companies that we see means that sustainability in construction becomes possible. The high-quality materials used in 3D printing last longer and integrate the use of waste material into building. Furthermore, 3D printing materials have one formula that creates a simplistic approach to building. It reduces expenses and makes building that much more predictable because it reduces supply chain challenges.

Durable structures

Wood has always been a standard in conventional construction, but is it as safe as the materials used to make 3D houses? Concrete is not nearly as vulnerable to weather elements. From high winds and rain, to earthquakes, concrete could withstand nature in a safe way. Wood on the other hand, suffers from damage and wear from the moisture that produces mold. 3D printing companies are using concrete that is already compression-tested up to 6,000 psi for added safety.

Increased demand

3D houses are desirable in fast growing metropolitan areas such as Austin, Texas where permits are already approved. For instance, one 3D printing company is partnering up with big-player investors where houses are sold before they are even built. In fact, two to four bedrooms are on the market being sold.

Prefabricated and 3D printed properties are also gaining popularity in California. In wake of the SB 9 legislation, there are opportunities for additional living space that investors are taking advantage of.

The demand is due to the fact that 3D houses have cheaper production costs and are built quicker compared to traditional construction.

Revolutionizing the housing market

Through years of experimentation and innovation, 3D printed houses are finally here to stay. Investors are jumping at opportunities to partner with 3D printing producers because houses have cheaper labor costs and high efficiency. 3D houses are built with quality materials that are reducing maintenance and made to last.

Even though we are going through a housing shortage, you can always check out Sundae’s Marketplace for off-market deals. Some investors have put ADUs onto already existing properties to add value. Depending on your situation, using a 3D printed structure to create more space might make sense in your area.

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Rob Marini

Rob Marini is a content writer for Sundae who also produces content for real estate agents, investors, and prop tech companies across the country. He works as a digital marketing specialist in Connecticut, where he resides. When he’s not designing content or learning about real estate, you can find him podcasting, playing the guitar, or watching the Philadelphia Eagles.