A 3D-printed house just hit the market in New York. The home was constructed by 3D-printing company SQ4D Inc.
The house is listed for $299,000, has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a 2.5 car garage, coming in at 1,400 square feet. From the pictures, it looks just like any other house. The listing agent says that this home is priced 50% below other new builds in the area.
Stephen King (not to be confused with the famous author) is using it as a marketing opportunity. In the listing he says, "Own a piece of history! This is the world's first 3D-printed home for sale...The future begins with this historic property! To learn more about this process, check out SQ4D."
The process of 3D printing is a bit difficult to conceptualize, especially when considered in a real estate setting. Let’s take a step back and talk about 3D printing and its implications for real estate.
What is 3D printing?
3D printing, often referred to as additive manufacturing, is the process of taking a digital 3D model and constructing a solid object out of it. In its early days, 3D printing was traditionally used for prototyping before going into manufacturing.
The technology has developed to the point where it's economically viable to weave 3D printers into a part of the manufacturing process. And now we’re seeing it in construction.
How SQ4D Inc. built it
SQ4D printed the home using its Autonomous Robotic Construction System, or ARCS. This system used concrete to print the footings, foundation, and walls, while humans completed all of the roof and interior finish work..
The company claims that it operates 3x faster than traditional construction, reduces construction costs by 70%, and requires three laborers per print.
Implications for 3D printing in real estate
The construction industry is dealing with a labor shortage. This, paired with the fact that we’re dealing with a housing shortage, opens the door for this type of technology to proliferate. We need more housing, but we’re struggling to keep up with the demand.
Although entire houses aren’t being printed right now, examples like this are a step in the right direction in keeping up with demand. It’s not just 3D-printing technology that's helping take a stab at these problems. Built Robotics is equipping heavy machinery, like bulldozers, with autonomous technology to expand construction capacity.
Others doing this?
SQ4D is not the only company working to tackle this problem. Apis Cor built the world’s largest 3D-printed building in Dubai back in 2019. It was a two-story building with a 640-square-meter footprint. They did the project out in the open to demonstrate that the process could handle the elements. Apis Cor is currently building a demonstration house in Louisiana and has been selling its robots to builders in the southeast.
The Millionacres bottom line
While it may seem crazy, there’s a chance you may live in a 3D-printed house one day. For developers, it will be important to keep an eye on this type of innovation. How will this impact construction prices when it becomes more mainstream?
Although the first-use cases are in single-family residential, affordable housing is probably next. Definitely keep your eye out for how this technology disrupts real estate in new and exciting ways.