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Can Technology Solve the Affordable Housing Crisis?

One of the major issues surrounding the housing market currently is the struggle to find affordable housing. 

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported in May that 46% of potential home buyers stated they are having trouble finding an affordable home. 

According to the NAHB report, the share of buyers who consider high prices the biggest hurdle fell 5 points when compared to 2018. 

Thanks to technology, though, that could all change, as a POLITICO report outlines how robots and technology could pave the way to affordable housing. 

The report states that in 2017 a company called Apis Cor, located outside of Moscow, Russia, posted a video where a $10,000 house was built in a day with 3D printing. 

“Two years later, even as multiple companies such as ICON and MudBots vie to establish themselves as makers of 3D-printed homes, a market has not yet emerged that matches the changes 3D printing has brought to everything from fashion to medical devices. The desire to create that impact remains intense, however,” POLITICO states. 

Dee Walsh, Chief Officer of Strategic Development for Mercy Housing, a affordable-housing nonprofit based in Denver, Colorado, said while 3D-printed home won’t solve homelessness, it is another “tool in the toolbox for housing development.” 

The report adds that a company called Suncomy is building a home in Austin, Texas, with its version of 3D-printing technology, which uses a mobile platform to spray geopolymer concrete onto pre-installed insulation panels. The concrete material is fireproof and repels water, says CEO Larry Haines, and can withstand winds of up to 220 mph.

Fannie Mae’s latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) found that concerns over affordability are driving down consumers' home purchase decisions. 

The index dropped 0.5 points in June after reaching its survey high of 91.5 in May, the data indicated. This, despite an eight-percentage-point spike in consumer expectation of lower mortgage rates.

“Growing expectations that mortgage rates will remain steady suggest improved stability for housing affordability and helped keep the HPSI relatively flat this month, despite modest declines in other components,” said Doug Duncan, SVP and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae.

About Author: Mike Albanese

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Mike Albanese has worked for news publications since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, sports, and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the "Pilot Point Post-Signal," and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the "Dallas Morning News" and "Denton Record-Chronicle" over the past several years.
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