Revolutionary technology builds a $10,000 house
Benefiting from it may require a political earthquake as well
It’s a technological solution to the housing crisis — now and forever.
A San Francisco company is build-ing 400 square-foot houses for just over $10,000. Not only that, it takes less than a day.
That’s because of a revolutionary breakthrough in construction technology, 3D printing — squirting layer after layer of concrete out of a nozzle that is computer pro-grammed to build the inside and outside structure of a house.
The company, Apis Cor, printed its first house in Russia in the depth of winter, when most construction is at a standstill. (See it on YouTube — google “3D printed house.”)
The Chinese have been 3D printing buildings for a few years — their first printed apartment complex opened to tenants in 2015. They print the components in factories and truck them onsite.
But Apis Cor’s inventor, Nikita Chen-yun-tai, made his printer mobile, so it can go onsite and print the house right there.
After it prints the concrete structure, workers attach the doors, windows, and the like. That part’s not automated yet. But give Chen-yun-tai and fellow techies a little time and it will be.
The costs are so low because the raw materials are cheap, there’s very little wastage, and — above all — almost no labor is needed.
The house isn’t huge — 20 percent smaller than your average studio apartment. But for $10,000, it’s a lot better than living in your car.
Meanwhile, one of Apis Cor’s Chinese competitors is 3D-printing much bigger, 2,100 square-foot houses for even less, about $5,000.
That’s about the size of an average house in the United States. And it compares with about $300,000 to build a similar house using conventional technology. (Add land costs plus sewer and electrical hookups to get the total price.)
“We want to help people around the world to improve their living conditions,” says Chen-yun-tai. “That’s why the construction process needs to become fast, efficient and high-quality.”
“For this to happen we need to delegate all the hard work to smart machines,” he explains.
At $10,000, Apis Cor’s house could cost less to build than to connect to the sewer system. That’s how revolutionary the technology is.
And that cuts the legs out from under the developers who, in California, are telling city councils they can’t build low-income apartments for less than $350,000 a unit.
Instead, 3D-printing shows that, in this epoch of revolutionary technology, everybody can be housed easily and cheaply. And it shows that what keeps us from housing everybody is politics.
Historically, city councils and county boards of supervisors have been elected with the backing of the real-estate industry — builders and developers.
Real-estate investors are now getting double-digit profits, while government bonds are earning only around 2 percent. They’re not about to give up without a fight.
And Chen-yun-tai’s revolutionary technology, may disrupt more than just the real-estate industry, as ZeroHedge commentator Tyler Durden has remarked.
“in a few years, the deflationary pressures unleashed by Apis Cor and its competitors could result in a huge deflationary wave across the construction space,” he agrees, “providing cheap, accessible hous-ing to millions.”
But in the process, that could “revolutionize and upend the multi trillion-dollar mortgage business that is the bedrock of the US banking industry, “he says.
Of course, real estate and the banking industry are heavily im-bedded in the Trump administration, as they have been in every administration since the Civil War.
So the chances that we get the benefits of the technological revolution without making a political transformation may be slim indeed.