3D printed housing is an emerging disruptive technology with the potential to transform the real estate development and residential construction industries. As costs decline and capabilities improve, significant investment upside exists. Here are options for investors to capitalize on the projected rapid growth of 3D printed homes over the next decade.
- The 3D printed housing market is projected to grow into a $20+ billion industry by 2030, offering lucrative investment opportunities.
- Investors can target 3D printing construction technology companies, real estate developers using the tech, or supply chain manufacturing.
- VC funding, accelerators, and acquisitions provide early-stage tech investment avenues.
- Real estate investors can participate in 3D printed housing developments through REITs, crowdfunding, or direct partnerships.
- Key factors to evaluate include projected cost declines, market adoption rates, and regulatory risk.
Overview of the 3D Printed Housing Market
- 3D printing enables automating production of housing components or entire dwellings through deposition of concrete or other materials in layers using robotic systems.
- While still early stage, the global market is projected to reach $15 billion by 2027 and $223 billion by 2030 according to analyses by IDC and 6W research.
- The U.S. is currently the largest market, but Asia and Europe are also adopting 3D printing for affordable housing and disaster relief shelters.
- Major players include established construction companies and VC-backed startups developing proprietary printers and technologies.
Investing in 3D Printing Construction Technology
The most direct avenue is investing in startups commercializing various aspects of 3D printing technology for residential and commercial construction:
1. Printer Hardware Manufacturers
These companies design and sell the large-scale robotic 3D printers capable of volumetric concrete printing or extrusion methods:
- Cazza: Leading US-based construction-scale printer maker and construction services provider.
- COBOD: Danish BOD2 printer developed specifically for multi-story housing.
- ICON: Developed specialized Vulcan printer and proprietary Lavacrete print material.
- Mighty Buildings: Ultra-light printable polymer composite panel systems enable faster assembly.
2. Software Firms
Providers of essential software for design, simulation, machine control, and construction automation:
- Autodesk: Major CAD/CAM design tools tailored for construction printers.
- Branch Technology: Generative design and robotics process optimization tools.
3. Materials Suppliers
Companies creating proprietary concrete, plastic, composites, and reinforcement materials for printing:
- Pyramid: Next-gen printable geopolymer concrete and reinforced filaments.
- Magma: Composite carbon fiber printable concrete products.
- Carbon: Digital light synthesis of end-use resins and elastomers.
4. Investment Vehicles
- VC Funding: Most printer and construction tech firms have relied heavily on venture capital and growth equity rounds. Further expansion will require more private funding.
- Accelerators: Industry-specific accelerators like Brickschain and Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center provide access to early stage startups.
- Acquisitions: Startups may be acquired as large construction companies look to integrate 3D printing capabilities.
Investing in 3D Printed Real Estate and Development
Investment opportunities in the realm of 3D printed real estate are not limited to the technology itself but extend to residential and commercial developments utilizing this innovative approach:
1. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
Publicly traded REITs provide a way to invest in diversified portfolios of real estate assets. As the field of 3D printed real estate development expands, we can anticipate the emergence of specialized REITs dedicated to funding these cutting-edge projects. These REITs could potentially focus on a range of 3D printed properties, from residential homes to commercial buildings.
2. Equity Crowdfunding
Online platforms have opened doors for collective investment in specific real estate projects. These platforms enable a large number of investors to pool their resources and invest in promising 3D printed housing ventures. This approach democratizes investment in real estate, allowing smaller investors to fund and benefit from large-scale 3D printed housing projects.
3. Direct Investment
For accredited investors, direct partnerships with real estate developers engaged in 3D printed projects present an avenue for direct equity participation. These investments offer a more hands-on approach, allowing investors to be intimately involved in groundbreaking real estate projects that leverage 3D printing technology for housing development.
Key Investment Factors to Consider
Projecting growth potential requires analyzing key factors like:
- Construction Cost Declines: Cost parity vs conventional building methods is key for adoption. Estimates project 3D printing construction costs dropping by 35-60% by 2030.
- Technology Improvements: Continual advances expanding printable size, speed, materials, and structural capabilities.
- Market Acceptance: Overcoming institutional resistance and perceptions about quality. Builders leveraging hybrid printing/conventional approaches may spur wider adoption.
- Regulatory Support: Reform of zoning laws and building codes to accommodate 3D printing and digital fabrication. Streamlining approval processes.
- Access to Capital: As a capital-intensive industry, affordable financing options must expand for large-scale 3D developments.
With forecasted massive growth in the 3D printed housing market, early investment offers significant return potential for investors seeking exposure to transformative construction technologies or real estate developments. As adoption accelerates globally in the coming decade, 3D printing promises to disrupt residential building and construction markets.
- Cost viability of 3D printed house in UK – IOPscience
- 3D Printing of Buildings: Construction of the Sustainable Houses of the Future by BIM – ScienceDirect
- Roadmap for adopting 3D concrete printing technology for production of affordable houses – University of Twente
Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice. It should not be considered as a recommendation to buy or invest in any particular financial product or service. We are not financial advisors, and the information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional financial advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified financial professional with any questions you may have regarding financial decisions or investments. Any reliance on the information provided in this article is at your own risk.