How long before we can 3D print ourselves a new home?

Contour Crafting technology developed by the University of Southern California

Contour Crafting technology developed by the University of Southern California

A few years back when I first heard about 3D printing, and there was talk about being able to print off a new set of lungs or a new heart valve, I just couldn’t visualize exactly how that was possible. ‘Back to the Future’ stuff as far as I was concerned.

Today, for not much more than the price of the latest laptop or iPad, you can buy your own desktop 3D printer and print away at home until your hearts content. Now that I’ve seen them in action, I can fully comprehend the potential…

Want to refresh your home decor? Custom design a new lampshade!

lamp shade

No shoes to match that new outfit? Print some off overnight!

shoe

There are online marketplace’s, like Shapeways.com where you can design, print and sell your products:

Endless creations of desk toys, gadgets, knick knacks, oh, and everyone needs a Mobius Strip of Bacon right?

Weird and wacky to one side, 3D printing has impacted many industries with some very useful and practical applications, particularly in the field of medicine, but apart from a bit of home decor & miniature modelling  it’s still very much early days for 3D printing in the architecture and construction industries.

While the potential is huge, the fact is, that in order to print something as big as a house, you need to build a massive printer and this is probably one of the main factors that’s been holding progress back, until now…

Dr. Bahrokh Khoshnevis, a professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering at the University of Southern California and his team of scientists have been developing new technology that will soon allow giant 3D printers to build entire multi-level houses…in one day.

This technology named ‘Contour Crafting’  is a process by which large-scale structures can be fabricated quickly in a layer-by-layer fashion – like 3D-printing a building. 

So just how long until we can go down to the local hardware store and hire a printer to Contour Craft a new home over the weekend? We’ll that may be a wee way off yet.

In theory, Dr. Khoshnevis and the USC team have the ability to print a whole house in one day right now, but due to a lack of lab space and construction permissions, they are currently only able to print smaller samples (walls etc), but are hopeful that entry-level construction models of the printer will appear on the market within two to three years and with NASA keen on the technology to build structures on the Moon and Mars for human colonisation, we have to hope that we get some traction here on Earth before too long.

3ft wall constructed by Contour Crafting

3ft wall constructed by Contour Crafting

Just recently, a Shanghai Engineering company printed 10 houses entirely out of recycled materials, in just under a day. Although the construction wasn’t one continuous build, rather, the various components were printed separately, then assembled, it’s still a great leap forward in the world of 3D construction. 

China has announced the first 3D printed house project will be launched in Qingdao, Shandong Province. A 3D printed building will be located in the Hi-tech Zone, Qingdao International Sculpture Park, to showcase new technologies.

These buildings are now being used as offices in an industrial park in Shanghai.

These buildings are now being used as offices in an industrial park in Shanghai.

So while there has been much comment online about this technology only enabling the building of ugly little concrete boxes, it’s currently a case of ‘walk before you can run’.

If 3D printing construction fulfils it’s potential, it wont be long until we’ll be seeing something that could look a little more like this:

Dupli Casa by J. Mayer.H

Dupli Casa by J. Mayer.H

or maybe even this?

protohouse

protohouse by Softkill Design.

Real estate ‘mini-movies’. Effective or excessive?

We’re big fans of HD video. It’s just one of the many services we offer here at Open2view.  Using high quality video to take viewers on a journey through a property and letting them ‘live the dream’ for a while, is an incredibly effective and powerful marketing tool for the real estate industry.

Without a doubt, it can be even more effective if that video goes viral.

‘Mini-movies’ are not new to the real estate industry. There have been some very, errrm, interesting examples in the past:


Real estate agents starring in their own property marketing videos is also nothing new, but a recent video that was brought to our attention left us wondering if this style of mini-movie making is very clever marketing, or perhaps a bit of overkill?

Shaken not stirred

Real estate agent Darren Berley claims to have an ‘Australian Real Estate First’ with his property video for a Penthouse Apartment in Perth, starring as 007 himself, in a James Bond inspired ‘mini-movie’ and performing all of his own stunts, including abseiling and choreographed fight scenes.

The videoette does manage to interweave some of the properties stunning features into the storyline, but one can’t help but think the whole thing might just be a bit of fantasy role play for Mr. Berley? If you have a spare 8 minutes and 15 seconds, take a look and let us know what you think….

Whatever your opinion may be, if the end result is a sale, then the mini-movie has fulfilled it’s purpose.

Check out our latest property listings featuring HD video tours on our website:

Open2view New Zealand
Open2view Australia 

Pinterest: The perfect place for property pictures.

How many of you have heard of Pinterest?

Those with long memories may recall  a few words we wrote about Pinterest back in May 2012. It was full of interesting facts: fastest site to hit ten million monthly visitors, 21 percent of members had bought something seen on Pinterest, that kind of thing.

How’s Pinterest looking almost 2 years on? Still pretty amazing, actually. Pinterest now has over 70 million users. Even better, it drives more referral traffic than Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google Plus combined. And the average orders, usually for home-related goods, are for between $140-180 each, compared to $60 and $80 on Twitter and Facebook.

Open2view on Pinterest

People are clearly spending a lot of time and money on Pinterest. Here at Open2view, we decided to up the ante a little. Could we get someone to place an order worth, say, at least $500,000 through Pinterest? Not just to furnish a home, but to buy an actual home?

It’s not all that far fetched. Real estate, after all, is a very visual product. People can fall in love with a house – or be completely put off – in about 20 seconds. It therefore made sense to go play Cupid on the most visual, and fastest growing, social site there is.

So out came the virtual scissors and glue, and so far we have over 300 pins across 21 Boards on our Open2view New Zealand Pinterest page and have just launched Open2view Australia on Pinterest.

Here’s just some of what you’ll find on our pages:

Property of the week – recently added properties that have caught our eye.

Fantastic first homes – properties perfect for first home buyers.

Beautiful bathrooms – self explanatory. We also have equally alliterative boards for other rooms.

Houses by twilight – Open2view’s night shots can be pretty spectacular.

Animal photography – we believe that if you must shoot an animal, it ought to be with a wide angle lens.

Man Caves – also known as garages, sheds and games rooms.

Not our photos – a bunch of awful, awful photos that quite clearly were not taken by us.

Best Views Ever Open2view on Pinterest

A sneak preview of one of our Pinboards.

Another Pinterest feature we love is the ability to see what others are pinning from our site. We often check out http://www.pinterest.com/source/nz.open2view.com/ to see what photos of ours are grabbing others’ attention. You can see what’s being shared from your site by replacing our website in that URL with yours.

Now then, what if you see something on our website that you just have to share? Easy as: press the button that says ‘Pin it’, pick what photo grabs you the most and pin it to one of your boards. If Pinterest users want to see where it came from, all they have to do is click the photo and it’ll take them to our listing. Brilliant.

Pinterest prompt on Open2view

Not too long ago Pinterest teamed up with another social media app Foursquare, to add a brand new feature called ‘Place Pins’. Aimed primarily at those pinners who use Pinterest to plot their holidays, they also make it easy for our audience to find houses in their region to look at. What’s holding it back from being totally ideal is the inability to pin in places not marked by Foursquare; if they don’t have it, you can’t pin it. Luckily you can search by region, district and suburb via our website’s comprehensive search engine anyway.
Pinterest Map

So back to my earlier question: can we use Pinterest to sell an Open2view house? Well – and here’s the biggest anticlimax of my 120 blog posts – we don’t know yet. But! Pinterest is an extremely visual site, which fits perfectly with what we do – stunning real estate photography. And with it being a huge referrer of traffic it would be silly for us not to be there.

And if you’re there too, why not say hi and share your favourite real estate photos with us. If you’re already on Facebook and are feeling lazy, you can see our pins there too via our Pinterest app. Social media is nothing, if not super convenient.

Open2view New Zealand Pinterest Page

Open2view Australia Pinterest Page

March Property Report – Main centres drive national increase to new highs.

akl_map2

While always traditionally a busy time of year, March looks to top records for the property calendar in 2014.

Figures released this week by realestate.co.nz. show that  while over half of the country’s regions saw an increase in asking price, it was the major centres of Auckland, Waikato and Wellington that were the driving forces behind the new record national asking price of $484,263, each region reaching their own record level with Auckland jumping up 12% on the previous year.

Auckland: $683,169  – 1% up from previous month, 12% up from same month previous year.

Wellington: $469,487 – 1% up from previous month, 7% up from same month previous year.

Waikato: $393,612 – 3.6% up from previous month, 10% up from same month previous year.

Inventory levels rose slightly to 28 weeks, but still well down on the long term average of 37 weeks of stock.

New listings increased slightly form last month, up 2%, however overall, March listings were lower than expected. 14 regions reported lower new listings than the same time last year with the most significant falls in Coromandel (down 29%) and Nelson (down 25%).

Canterbury reported 3.7% increase in new listings and Auckland 5% up from March 2013, however the buyer demand in Auckland still far outweighing the number of properties available.

Graphic from realestate.co.nz

Graphic from realestate.co.nz

In other Auckland news, Barfoot & Thompson reported an 80% increase in sales from February, with average house prices reaching $725,708 and the marian sales price for the month sitting at $652,000.

March also saw the largest number of premium properties since 2008 to be sold by Barfoot & Thompson in a single month, with homes over the $1 million price bracket accounting for 35% of the total residential sales for the month.

Daunting figures for any potential new home buyer in the Auckland region.

View the full realestate.co.nz property report for March 2014 here

View Barfoot & Thompson’s latest market updates here