Tech

Tesla and real-estate giant Brookfield are building a new neighborhood in Austin full of renewable energy tech

  • Tesla is teaming up with real-estate developers Brookfield and Dacra to build houses in Austin.
  • Homes in the sustainable neighborhood will be equipped with Tesla solar roofs and battery storage.
  • The houses, which are already under construction, will be for sale.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Elon Musk wants in on Texas’ red-hot residential real-estate market.

Tesla Energy, Brookfield Asset Management, and real-estate developer Dacra said on Friday that they are developing a master-planned community together in Austin, Texas. Homes in the community, provisionally dubbed SunHouse at Easton Park, began construction in June and will feature Tesla solar roofs and batteries.

The move marks the first formal neighborhood Tesla is building from the ground up. Late last year, the clean-energy company announced a partnership with Mississippi Power to build a neighborhood of up to 150 homes in southern Mississippi.

The companies have not yet announced how large the SunHouse community will be. The homes will be for sale, not for rent. Prices were not disclosed by the time of publication, but Austin’s population and home prices are booming right now.

“Neighborhood solar installations across all housing types will reshape how people live,” Musk, CEO of Tesla, said in a press release. Musk also said that the company will use feedback from SunHouse’s residents to further develop their renewable products.

The SunHouse community is part of Brookfield’s massive Easton Park development. Development of the 1,500-acre site is occurring in phases: A small number of solar-equipped homes is under construction first, with later plans to build out a sprawling master-planned community.

Building nationwide is booming, with housing starts at a 15-year high this year — finally meeting pre-2008-

recession
levels. While the houses in this community will be for sale, institutional investors are also building neighborhoods with single-family homes to rent out for reliable profits. Brookfield is already involved in the single-family rental business, purchasing a controlling stake in operator Conrex last year.

Austin has emerged as a favorite destination for people and companies relocating during the pandemic — including Musk himself and Tesla outposts. Earlier this year, Musk tweeted that Austin was in desperate need of more housing.

Tesla’s 2016 acquisition of Musk’s cousins’ solar business, SolarCity, led to a shareholder lawsuit in 2017. With a potential $2 billion loss at stake, Musk is due to appear in court on July 12 to defend the acquisition.

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