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 what’s selling, a major player entering the game, where people are moving, floating new ideas, and a new reason to wait before crossing the road. Dig in!
New home builds completed in April dropped by 10%, which is unsurprisingly did not help sales which dropped 11.4%. Competition is still high and people are buying houses quickly but there just aren’t enough to buy, which was basically the same problem for affordable housing. Affordable existing home sales dropped by about 230,000 homes and with the median price moving up and up “affordable” might get a new meaning soon. Existing homes are selling on average in 29 days. The fastest pace in 6 years. People keep buying, inventory keeps dropping, prices get higher, and then who knows what happens…
IoT Gets Afforable
Ikea has announced a low-cost smart lighting system. The new lights are also getting voice control from all the big players: Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and Amazon Alexa. This could be a huge step in smart home adoption and IoT integration in everyday homes. Expected to start selling in the summer/fall, these smart lights are easily the cheapest, have about the same specs as competitors and come from a big brand people already trust. That’s a pretty competitive triple threat.
People are moving south. Lots of people. 10 of the top 15 fastest growing cities, by percent change, are in the south. Four of the top five are in Texas alone. Not only are people moving south but people are moving to suburbs much quicker than big cities. Home prices/rents are rising faster and faster in big cities and according to the New York Times “four-fifths of large metro areas have become more suburban since 2010”.
Sea Of Light
China has just turned on the largest floating farm of solar panels in the world. The traditionally coal city of Huainan is now becoming a leader in solar energy production. The solar panels are on the water where they are cooled naturally by the condensation and are treated to help the panels be more durable through weather. This farm can produce 40 megawatts of electricity. This will likely propel China to being a leader in renewable resources.
Listen To The Hand
France has a problem with people not worrying about if the crosswalk says walk or wait. With 4000 pedestrians getting hit by cars every year, France used new real time technology to teach everyone an old lesson. When people walked when they weren’t supposed to a nearby sign would screech like a car slamming on the brakes, then take a picture of the person’s scared face and turn them into a safety ad about waiting to cross. Now we know why the chicken won’t cross the road anymore.
National Geographic Right Outside Your Window
A family in California spotted a baby bear trying to get back over their fence, with a little help from mama bear the cub figured it out. Don’t watch if you hate adorable bear cubs.