Welcome to the BYTE, where we serve up the latest home and tech news from the last week for you to sink your teeth into.
This week we’re taking a BYTE out of the latest housing numbers, new tech, SXSW, an update to Google Maps, and America’s happiness. Dig in!
1.3 million homes were finished in February the most since 2008. Permits dropped 5.7% from January. Prices increased 8.8% from last year, this was the strongest appreciation since March 2014.
What Does It All Mean?
We shouldn’t expect similar numbers in finished homes this March because starts fell 7% in February. Even though permits dropped 5.7% they are still up 6.5% compared to February 2017, which is a good sign that we may be starting to get closer to building up some housing inventory. However, February had an 11.4 % decline in overall homes for sale, which is the 29th consecutive month of year-over-year supply declines. Homes sold on average a week faster than they did last year around this time, signaling a continued strong demand from buyers.
Blockchain and VR
A home in Vermont became the first in the U.S. to be sold using blockchain technology. The city of South Burlington and Propy, a San Francisco startup, worked together to record this real estate transactions on the Ethereum blockchain. With this technology, every part of the sale and title transfer process was documented completely online in a basically unhackable ledger.
In other tech news, the AR/VR standalone headset market is expected to grow 48.5% this year. As more headsets that don’t require a phone are being released and used, some think that we may start seeing them everywhere.
Each year tens of thousands descend upon Austin, TX to see the latest and greatest in music, film, interactive content, and much more. This year did not disappoint. Whether it was Elon Musk laying out his hopes for humanity, Youtube calling out Facebook, or crazy activations such as Westworld recreating Westworld in real life SXSW always gives everyone a lot of things to mull over and be inspired from. Until next year SXSW.
There’s No Place Like Home
Google Maps is integrating with a popular game engine, Unity, allowing designers everywhere to take any neighborhood, or city, or state and recreate them into any sort of fantasy world. Imagine playing a racing game and being able to actually race through your neighborhood, or fly over your house on a dragon. This may lead to a lot of apps/games utilizing this to create hyper custom content.
Turn That Frown Upside Down
The U.N. released their global happiness ranking, Finland is 1st and the U.S. is 18th. Our happiness is actually falling. Last year the U.S. was in 14th place. The scale is based on the economy, life expectancy, social support, freedom to make choices, the generosity of people around you, and perceived corruption levels.
With March Madness underway, here are the top moments from the first weekend! Don’t worry everyone’s brackets are ruined.