How real estate will radically change in the new decade

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After a roaring decade, real estate is looking a lot less promising in the 2020s.

A sense of gloom hangs in the air. “Bloodbath,” “free fall” and “slump” were just some of the choice idioms deployed by headline writers to describe the New York real estate market during the twilight of 2019. Across the pond, townhouses in central London—long the favored investment vehicle for billionaires from Bahrain to Belarus—have lost 20 percent of their value in a five-year nosedive. Worldwide, according to Savills, a global property consultancy, “everything is trending to zero.”

“This is not a normal cycle,” says Frederick Peters, CEO of Warburg Realty. Even after the global financial crisis, luxury property prices in the world’s capitals recovered fully within two years and went on to smash all records. This time round, brokers and analysts agree, it’s different.

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2020 Trend: The continued growth of modular construction

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Reduced building time makes modular construction appealing to many developers.

Modular construction was once a cheap solution for properties in lower-priced areas. That has slowly changed over the last several years as some of the biggest companies in the burgeoning proptech and construction tech spaces have focused on modular and prefab builds. Modular construction is now used in a variety of high-end commercial real estate projects. In fact, the modular construction market is projected to reach as high as $157 billion by 2023.

New York City is quickly becoming a home for some of the most ambitious modular hotels in the world, including the 168-room, 26-story AC Marriott in Manhattan, which will open in 2020. That hotel and a proposed Hilton Motto in Brooklyn were designed by Danny Forster & Architecture, a firm that also worked on Hudson Yards and other high-profile projects.

Interest in modular construction can be seen around the world. It is currently more popular in Europe than in the United States, but the U.S. is starting to catch up. High-profile tech start-ups like Katerra, which has raised billions from the SoftBank Vision Fund, have helped contribute to growing awareness of modular construction as a way to help builders save both time and money.

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Startup plans to allow consumers to purchase homes without a mortgage. Innovative, or risky?

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Innovative, or risky?

One new Los Angeles-based investor-backed startup is claiming it will get Americans into homes without requiring a mortgage.

Fleq will launch next month in Pittsburgh, and instead of originating mortgages, its plan is to simply buy the home a purchaser wants and sell it back to them, bit by bit, in shares. The buyer can choose the length of time that they want to pay for the home.

“We didn’t think that [mortgages] were the appropriate and fair approach to homeownership, and we didn’t think it resonated with Millennials and Gen Zers, who saw their parents wiped out by the financial crisis,” said founder and CEO Todd Sherer, whose background is in real estate finance.

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World’s first 3D-printed neighborhood unveiled in Mexico

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The project, which was created in partnership with Icon and Échale, is located in Tabasco, southeastern Mexico

 We’ve followed New Story’s efforts to create affordable 3D-printed homes for a while, including its first prototype model and ambitious plan to build a community in Latin America. That plan has now been put into action and the non-profit has revealed what it calls the world’s first 3D-printed community, which is currently under construction in rural Mexico.

The project, which was created in partnership with Icon and Échale, is located in Tabasco, southeastern Mexico. The team aims to produce 50 homes for families in the area who are living in extreme poverty, often in dangerous and rickety makeshift shelters. So far, two homes have been completed and the families chosen will receive them at a zero interest, zero profit mortgage costing around 400 Mexican Pesos (about US$20 per month), which will run for seven years.

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Off-the-grid container house in Mexico is move-in ready in 99 days

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The VMD tiny home is an eco-conscious dwelling that is built using shipping-containers

Mexican architectural studios Studioroca and Taller Escape have recently joined forces to create a prefabricated housing model that is move-in ready in just 99 days from ordering. Dubbed VMD, the 30-sq-m (323-sq-ft) tiny home is an eco-conscious dwelling that is built using shipping-containers and offers a complete off-the-grid living package.

The inspiration for the simple and cost-effective design of the dwelling came from the architects’ desire to create a home that could re-connect city-dwellers with the beautiful natural Mexican landscape, while also incorporating a strong focus on sustainability and reducing the ecological footprint of the home. The VMD home is thus designed as a low-fuss abode or weekend getaway that can be installed in just seven days, while leaving very little impact on the site.

“VMD is an invitation to find a balance between daily life and weekend escapes, coming into contact with nature; Mexico is a country famous for its biodiversity and its unparalleled landscapes, in our quest to increase the experience of living it VMD becomes the synthesis of freedom where retirement is only a short trip away,” says the Taller Escape studio.

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Boomer homes to flood US market, but who will buy them?

Baby Boomer home sales will flood the housing market: Report

Baby Boomers’ homes will be sold on a large scale over the next 20 years, but with millennials refraining from home ownership, who will be buying them?

The U.S. housing market is on the verge of being inundated with homes for sale on a scale that hasn’t been seen since the housing bubble in the mid-2000s.

The tsunami is being driven by a grim reality: Baby Boomers dying.

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Earning $100,000 used to mean something. Now you can barely afford to buy a home- Here’s the big problem

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For many people, when we were starting out in our careers, earning a six-figure salary was the ultimate goal. If you made $100,000 or more, you were considered relatively successful. The compensation would afford you the opportunity to fulfill the American dream—owning a home with a white picket fence in a lovely neighborhood with good schools for when you have children. Fast-forward to today and that has all changed.

According to the Wall Street Journal, there is a growing trend of $100k-earning professionals electing to rent instead of purchasing homes. Almost 20% of households earning $100k or more are bucking historical norms and renting apartments. A $100k income is still considered a comfortable living, dependent upon the city. To put things into perspective, the median U.S. household income, according to the Census Bureau, was $63,179 in 2018.

Here’s why this trend is an issue. The reasons for renting—compared to buying a home—are complex. Due to exceedingly high student-loan debt, burdensome personal expenses (such as insurance and health care costs), leased cars, credit card debt, smartphones, utility bills and other expenses have made it difficult for potential buyers to save enough for the down payment on a home.

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An Austin startup can 3D-print tiny homes in 24 hours for a fraction of the cost of traditional homebuilding — here’s how Icon could revolutionize affordable housing

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Icon will 3D-print six more tiny homes at a property in Austin housing the city’s homeless population. Katie Canales/Business Insider

Icon is an Austin startup that designs 3D-printing technology capable of building tiny homes in about a day for a fraction of the cost of traditional construction methods.

Icon cofounder Evan Loomis told Business Insider that pinpointing an exact cost estimate is tricky, but the company successfully printed a 350-square-foot proof-of-concept home for $10,000 in 24 hours in 2018.

The company isn’t the first to design 3D printing technology for home building, but its unique customization and on-site construction could be revolutionary feats amid a growing demand in the US for affordable housing.

Icon’s latest 3D printer, the Vulcan ll, is available for purchase and is already being put to use.

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This startup wants to put a free tiny house in your backyard

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Rent the Backyard will get a tiny house into your backyard in a matter of weeks—and hopes it can add some cheaper apartments in cities to help alleviate the housing crisis.

In cities with housing shortages, little room to build, and opposition to new construction, building small cottages in backyards can be one way to add new apartments quickly. One new startup wants to help it happen even faster: The company handles the cost and construction process for homeowners in exchange for a cut of the rent when a tenant moves in.

“Right now, to build an accessory dwelling unit is a huge process,” says Spencer Burleigh, cofounder of Rent the Backyard, a Bay Area-based startup in the current cohort at the tech accelerator Y Combinator. “You have to talk with the city and deal with the permits. And even if you can find a great builder that is able to do a lot of those steps for you, you’re still fronting a whole lot of money.”

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Are these fireproof, hurricane-proof geodesic domes the post-climate change house of the future?

 

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Geoship is touting the bioceramic geodesic dome as the home of the future—and getting help on the rollout from Zappos, which wants to build some near its headquarters to give to the homeless.

In a world where wildfires and hurricanes are becoming more frequent, design for new housing would be smart to anticipate the climate disasters that are coming. So these new buildings aren’t made from wood or any other conventional building materials. Instead, they’re made from bioceramic—which can withstand disasters, and perhaps dramatically lower construction costs.

It’s the design of a startup called Geoship, which is using the material to build new dwellings in the form of a geodesic dome and has plans to produce both backyard cottages and full communities. It’s caught the attention of Zappos and is working with the company to build a small “village” of the domes in Las Vegas near the online shoe retailer headquarters. The plan is to offer them as free housing for some of the many people who are experiencing homelessness in the city.

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MbS goes Elon Musk on steroids: Seeks flying cars, electric dinosaurs, robot maids, & glowing sand for Barren Saudi desert

 

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In northwest Saudi Arabia, where most people see a barren wasteland, Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has envisioned the future, and according to the Wall Street Journal, it is something straight out of an Elon Musk wet dream, complete with flying taxis, robot maids, robot dinosaurs, robot martial arts, endless booze and glow-in-the-dark sand, among other things.

Perhaps MbS has been following Elon Musk’s Twitter account a little too closely. Or perhaps he has joined him in a microdosing regimen. Regardless, MbS has hatched a $500 billion plan to cover 10,000 square miles of this desert to attract the “world’s greatest minds and best talents” to the world’s best paying jobs in the world’s most livable city.

A true modern day, pardon, future Shangri-La.

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3D printer builds 500-square-foot home in under 12 hours

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S-Squared 3D Printer’s Autonomous Robotic Construction System, (ARCS)

ARCS is a patent pending technology that allows multiple machines to work together to create a home with little or no human assistance. Delays in building projects are a thing of the past now that building a 3D printed home is possible in hours — not days or months. The 3D building process ushers in a new level of affordability for homeowners and businesses like never before. In addition, this new technology can reduce construction costs by as much as 70%.

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