Have you ever wanted to live in a home that came out of a tube? That may be the least desirable way to describe 3D-printed homes, but it's reality. Nonetheless, demand is high for single-family homes, and 3D printing could deliver.
With an entirely 3D-printed neighborhood planned in Austin, Tex., homebuyers wonder: How much does it cost to live in a 3D-printed home?
Largest 3D-printed neighborhood planned in Austin
Innovative home construction company Lennar Corp. (NYSE:LEN) is partnering with large-scale 3D-printing operation ICON and architecture designer BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group. Together, the trio is set to build the largest neighborhood of 3D-printed homes.
The neighborhood is set to begin construction in 2022. Lennar is planning a 100-home community in Austin. Thanks to a recent $207 million financing round, Lennar is ready to tackle the huge project.
"Lennar has always expanded the boundaries of technological innovation to keep quality homes affordable and 3D printing is an immensely encouraging approach," says Eric Feder, President of LENx.
3D-printed homes could close the gap for the middle-class
At the right price, 3D-printed homes could make it easier for single families to find housing. At the end of 2020, Freddie Mac said the national deficit of single-family homes was 3.8 million units. Issues with materials and labor shortages have only bottlenecked the supply even further. This shortage is increasing demand for what's available, driving up the price of homes.
The cost of 3D-printed homes vs. traditional homes
Unlike most wood-framed single-family homes, the upcoming 3D-printed homes will use concrete framing. A 15.5-foot printer will print the exterior and interior wall system. The houses, 2,000 square feet and only one story, take a week for one printer to execute. Bear in mind that this is just the frame and does not include all of the other components that complete a home.
Despite the process's inclination toward urban sprawl, the 3D printer's efficiency and ability to create unique designs appeal to many. It also minimizes waste during the construction process.
All things considered, Lennar says the 3D-printed homes will be priced similarly to other single-family homes in the area. For the Austin metro, that's around $450,000 as of Sept. 2021.
ICON has created 3D-printed homes before. Historically, the company priced the homes slightly below the market rate for similar traditional homes. In a previous project in Austin, ICON sold a four-bedroom 3D-printed home for nearly $800,000, a big premium to the market rate.
How to invest in 3D-printed construction companies
The ARK Invest 3D Printing ETF (PRNT) is another option for thematic investors who want to target the niche subsector. Year-to-date, PRNT is up 20.04 percent. Its top holdings include Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) and Desktop Metal (NYSE:DM).