An American start-up thinks it has the perfect answer to your housing woes and it could soon be the key to a mortgage free life.

The company, called ICON, has developed a method for printing a single-story 60sq m house out of cement in less than 24 hours — and for about half the cost of other, similar methods.

Using a proprietary printer, ICON can print an entire home for about A$12,000 ($12,864) and says it plans to bring costs down to about A$5,500 per house.

The model, which the company showed off at tech and music fair South by Southwest this week, boasts a living room, bedroom, bathroom, and a curved porch.


According to its website, the company wants to leverage the power of robotics and cutting-edge materials to "make major advancements in affordability, building performance and sustainability."

If all goes according to plan, a community made up of about 100 homes will be constructed for residents in El Salvador next year as part of a joint project between ICON and home building charity, New Story.

Affordable and fast to deploy housing solutions like this cannot only help provide much needed shelter to those in developing countries but could also be used to improve urban density and the environmental sustainability of housing.

In response to soaring property prices in Australia (and other major cities around the world), a small but growing group of young people are joining the tiny house movement.

But for those who don't want to live in what is essentially a kitchen with a bed, the printing method used by ICON is capable of producing a home that's up to 74sq m, about twice the size of houses typically pushed by the tiny house movement.

They say house prices are driven by land value but when homes are selling for A$1.3 million in Mount Druitt, Sydney (no offence Mount Druitt), cheap and innovative alternatives like this begin to look very promising if you don't fancy an eye-watering mortgage.

Speaking to The Verge, one of the company's three founders, Jason Ballard, said competition is stiff in the emerging market of 3D printed homes.

"There are a few other companies that have printed homes and structures. But they are printed in a warehouse, or they look like Yoda huts. For this venture to succeed, they have to be the best houses."

He believes by "printing" the homes in cement, it will ensure greater durability and give customers greater confidence in the integrity of the home.

"I think if we were printing in plastic we would encounter some issues," he said.

While communities in developing nations are set to be the first benefactors of the young company's work, its founders have some pretty lofty ideas about the future of such technology, including building space colonies.

"One of the big challenges is how are we going to create habitats in space," Ballard said.

"You're not going to open a two by four and open screws. It's one of the more promising potential habitat technologies."

In the meantime, I'd just be happy with a A$12,000 house.