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Building to Begin on First 3D-Printed Housing Community in the U.S.

Mar 31, 2021 by Jeff Piltch
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The California desert will host the first ever 3D-printed housing community. The developer, Palari Group, is planning to build 15 sustainability sourced, 3D-printed homes on a five-acre plot in Rancho Mirage, which is near Palm Springs. Each home will be just under 1,500 square feet and start at $595,000.

More on the development

The single-story homes will each be 1,450 square feet and built from a stone composite material that is strong, fire- and water-resistant, and termite-proof, according to Palari's CEO.

Homes will all have three beds and two baths, along with a deck and swimming pool. The starting price will be $595,000, while buyers will also have the option to add a smaller residence on the property for an additional $255,000.

Mighty Buildings, which just raised a $40 million Series B, will build the homes. It doesn't actually print the houses on-site; instead, the construction start-up 3D prints modular panels in a factory that are then installed on-site. Palari group founder and CEO Basil Starr said the modular panels are assembled "kind of like Lego blocks" in an interview with CNN.

Starr added, "In wood-frame construction, there's a significant waste that is generated for the home that's being built, it's about two tons of waste that goes into landfills...And with 3D printing, it's a revolutionary way of building that completely eliminates that unnecessary waste."

The average owner-occupied home value in the area is $825,738. While we’re not comparing apples to apples here, that’s a nice nugget to keep in mind to demonstrate 3D printing’s potential to help solve the current housing shortage. Rising material prices and a short supply of single-family homes have driven prices up during the pandemic -- meaning people are looking for more economical alternatives like 3D printing.

Hold on -- what does it mean to 3D print something?

3D printing, otherwise known as additive manufacturing, is the process of taking a digital 3D model and creating a solid, real-world object from it. The technology initially gained traction for its use in prototyping to prepare for large-scale manufacturing.

The technology has developed to the point where it's now economically viable to weave 3D printers into part of the manufacturing process. And now, we’re even seeing it in construction.

Other start-ups using 3D printing to build houses

We just saw the first 3D-printed house go on the market in New York. SQ4D built the home, listed for $299,000. It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a 2.5 car garage. According to the listing agent, this home was priced 50% below other new builds in the area.

There’s also Apis Cor, which built the world’s largest 3D-printed building to date back in 2019. The company built a two-story structure in Dubai. Apis Cor uses a robot to build homes on-site, as opposed to 3D printing modular pieces offsite.

The Millionacres bottom line

3D printing and modular technologies have converged and are gaining traction in construction. The combination of sustainability, cost savings, and efficiency will make it hard to ignore as real estate investors think about the future of housing development.

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