Last month, we noted “Screw Lumber, Just 3D-Print Your Next Home,” which is precisely what one builder did in Virginia.
According to local news NBC12, history was made Thursday when the first house in the state, located in South Richmond, was constructed with a 3-D printer.
“It’s a home where your wall are made out of concrete instead of wood that’s it,” said Zachary Manngeimer, CEO of Alquist, a 3D printing construction firm from Iowa City.
Printing walls out of concrete instead of stick building with lumber is a relief for homebuilders and homeowners. This year alone, a new single-family home cost had risen at least $36,000 because of soaring lumber prices. The good news today is lumber prices are declining but remain well above pre-COVID levels.
“It’s mixed in a mixing bowl and from there it goes through a tube into a printer head and that printer head is programmed to go around and print the wall system,” said Chris Thompson, Director of Virginia Housing.
To print the 1,550-square-foot home with three bedrooms and two baths will take approximately 15 hours and requires less labor and fewer materials. The contractor on the project said the home is no different than any other average home.
“It’s the same plumbing, same electrical, same HVAC, and same roof structure. All of that is the same,” said Manngeimer.
Manngeimer added: “The housing prices have been out of control for decades and the pandemic has only made it worse. We think this technology can drop the cost make it more efficient and also help families customize a home to fit their lifestyle in ways they may not have been able to do before.”
This comes as veteran housing analyst Ivy Zelman said she saw “hyperinflation” in the US housing “ecosystem” fraught with labor and materials bottlenecks.
Zelman’s warning comes as investors are closely watching whether a broad surge in inflation as the economy recovers from pandemic lockdowns will prove to be transitory. At least it validates one part of a recent Bank of America warning which said that the US is facing “hyperinflation” if transitory.
Currently, Florida and Arizona are two other states with companies printing homes. We’ve noted this phenomenon is occurring in other parts of the world.
While the Federal Reserve and federal government continue to allow home prices to hyperinflate to well beyond bubble levels, making homeownership unaffordable for many, companies are innovating how materials and new technologies can create cheaper homes. The only issue now is finding buildable land.