3D Printed House
Currently in the centre of Milan you will see a 100sqm concrete house on display, a slightly incongruous site but for Milan’s reputation for design innovation. The exterior features a curved silhouette and a flat roof covered with plants, but there’s something striking about the house: Its walls were entirely 3D printed on site by a robotic manipulator. The house interior features a living area, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom made from 35 modules, each of which took between 60 to 90 minutes to print, with the full house taking just 48 hours to complete. Conceived as part of Design Week at the Salone del Mobile, the 3D home was designed by Massimiliano Locatelli (CLS Architetti) and was in part a response to the affordable housing crisis now common in many countries.
We know that site costs, demographics shifts and supply are key aspects of the market. There are other influences such as material and labour costs, infrastructure, zoning and regulatory barriers which all combined, create a competitive market for developers and buyers to navigate. However, another big issue that’s emerging is the potential clash between millennials and baby boomers. Around 2020 as millennials are reaching their prime home buying age of 30, the crunch point is that at the same time a big percentage of baby boomers are expected to be looking to possibly right-size. This has the potential to create even more competition for smaller homes, that also appeal to first time buyers that are located in inner urban areas, again the same areas that appeal to FHB and young families and 2020 is not that far away.
The World’s First Electronic Road Opens
While we wrestle with how and where to locate charging ports for electric cars, this technology may soon be outdated. The world’s first electric road is now open in Sweden, stretching for a modest 1.2 miles between Stockholm and Arlanda Airport the road charges vehicles as they move. The charging road runs via a system of underground rails that transfer electricity to cars. There are plans to build more of these roads in Sweden which is good news for anyone who’s had to plan their trip around finding a charging station.
Safe as Houses
How do Australia’s housing returns stack up compared to several other advanced countries? A new study from 1870 to 2015 has sheds some light on this topic. Finland topped the table with an annual real rate of return from housing of 9.58%, according to research from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. By comparison Australian housing delivered 6.37% which was according to the bank’s survey rated 10th out of 16 countries. Returns were stronger in periods post 1950 and 1980, at 8.29% and 7.16%, respectively. The paper titled “The Rate of Return on Everything”, covers 16 advanced economies and the four major asset classes of equities, housing, government bonds and bills.
The rentvestor is a newish term that has emerged in the housing market over the past few years, but just who’s a typical rentvestor? According to new research commissioned by Westpac, rentvestors are most likely to be male, Gen Y, often single with a uni degree and earning relatively high incomes. They’re less emotional about home ownership tending to view property more as an investment class.
Among rentvestors the majority want to live in the next property they buy, rather than move into their investment. They also believe it’s better to buy an investment property in a cheaper area and rent where they actually wanted to live and the research suggests that the majority 61% own a freestanding house, compared to 25% owning apartments and 19% a townhouse or duplex.
If the World Went Solar
The cost of electricity and energy security is very much in the news. That invites the question: what if the world went 100% solar, what would be required? Some recent research gives us a possible answer. The research starts by assuming 70% average sunshine days per year, that’s 250 sunny days per year at 8 hours of daylight on average. That's 2,000 hours per year of direct sunlight and so based on that figure we arrive at needing 496,804,500,000 square meters or 496,805 square kilometers as the area of solar panels required to power the world. This is roughly equal to the area of Spain but well short of the area of Australia at 7.6 million square kilometres.
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