The country is experiencing a housing crisis today, as high prices make it difficult for Americans to purchase homes and tenants to afford rent. This issue has not only made it especially challenging for first-time homebuyers to secure homes. It has also presented even more barriers for low-income families and individuals to find adequate and affordable housing.
Of course, there are existing government programs to address the needs of low-income persons, senior citizens, and those with disabilities. These include subsidies, public housing, and emergency assistance services. There are also Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans and HUD homes for those looking to purchase properties.
However, we need sustainable solutions to truly move forward from the problems of housing in the country. The good news is that technology offers various solutions today.
History Has Something to Say
The end of World War II saw a dramatic demand for low-cost housing but was at the time met with a lack of supply. Amidst this crisis, real estate developer William Levitt saw an opportunity to build homes on a large enough scale that soldiers could finally settle down comfortably after the war.
The need for rapid home constructions allowed the development of innovations in building techniques that Levitt & Sons perfected. The company then used these practices to create what is now known as modern suburbia.
Back then, war veterans enjoyed the possibility of living in a suitable home with their families thanks to the quick response of companies such as Levitt & Sons and the technological advancements that came with it. There is something to learn from this today. The further development of modern technology is vital to resolving pressing issues that trouble citizens today.
Reducing the Cost of Homes
Various innovations are making the cost of both building and buying homes more affordable. These are a couple of the great developments leveling the playing field for homebuyers and tenants.
Modular Homes Provide Affordability
Many are not aware of what modular homes are because they are not yet considered popular housing options. A modular home is simply one whose parts have been created in a factory setting. This enables the building of each segment in a controlled environment, free from the disruptions of weather and other factors.
The parts of a modular home, or prefabricated home, are transported to the land on which the property will be built. It is then assembled there by professionals.
Note that modular homes differ from manufactured homes. Manufactured homes are pre-built home units that are just then placed on a piece of land.
Modular homes are promising because while they are smaller, they are usually cheaper and offer more functionality for every square foot. Since they are produced in a climate-controlled environment, they have a consistent quality and are quicker to build.
There are already areas taking advantage of the benefit of modular homes. For instance, a pastor in the Bay Area sought to tackle homelessness by spearheading the development of modular housing in a parking lot in Palo Alto. Many similar projects have occurred in other areas, attesting its effectiveness in offering dignified housing to individuals in need.
3D Printing Offers Promise for the Future
3D printing is again reaching new heights as 3D-printed homes have now become a reality. In March of this year, a homeless Texas man became the first person to live in a 3D-printed house. Today, Austin-based startup ICON is set to build a whole neighborhood of 3D-printed homes in Texas.
Should this technology be adopted on a larger scale, it could be a sustainable solution to tackle the longstanding issue of homelessness and rising home costs.
New Solutions for Home Purchases
Aside from devising solutions to make homes more affordable for buyers, tech solutions should also simplify the process of acquiring mortgages and house hunting.
The NerdWallet app is one example that provides helpful tools for computing and comparing mortgage rates. It also automates the work of filling out applications, which allows borrowers to accomplish forms faster.
Recently, celebrities Jay-Z and Will Smith together invested $165 million in tech startup, Landis. It buys homes on behalf of buyers and allows them to rent them until the buyer can secure a mortgage. This rent-to-sell method makes homeownership a more accessible pursuit for low-income Americans.
Bigger than a Housing Issue
To truly resolve the housing crisis, however, industry stakeholders must look beyond real estate. We must look into the various social, economic, and political factors that bleed into the inability to buy a house. Taking action against these can help support every American for the long term.