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 Google tech, a smart home partnership, sunny California, entry level homes, and single buyers. Dig in!
One Stop Search
Google held their annual I/O developer conference and released a whole basket of new things.
Even smarter photo recognition within Google Photos and in Google phone cameras; a design to help curb digital addiction; a way to make your battery last longer, and much more. The release that blew most people’s minds was Google Duplex. Google Duplex is a feature currently in development which would be an AI system, powered by Google Assistant, which would make mundane phone calls for you. Not only will it call and make appointments for you when you say something like “Google, make a hair appointment for me on Tuesday at 3”, but the AI sounds so much like a person most people won’t realize they are talking to a Google robot.
Bringing The Amazon Into Your Lennar Home
Amazon announced this past Wednesday that they will be setting up interactive Amazon Experience Centers in Lennar model homes across the U.S.. This will be one of the first big scale showcases of what a house can do when everything is integrated and on the same page. Walk into the Lennar model and simply say ask Alexa to do anything and boom it will happen. Smart homes are continuing to gain popularity, but most people aren’t integrating every aspect of their home, this may help convince them. Who knows maybe down the line you can just walk into model and say “Alexa, buy this home”.
California just passed a new law to require solar power on all newly constructed homes in the state. The requirement goes into effect in 2020 and builders will have to equip new single and multi-family homes with solar power systems. The panels will also have to be incorporated in the home cost, or made available for a monthly lease.
Entry Level Homes
Homebuilders are starting to slowly return to entry level homes. Last year there were 50 builders in the Builder 100 who reported 50% or more of their closings were in the entry-level market. This is an increase from the 43 builders in 2016, however it is much lower than the 2010 high of 70 builders. Even though there is a demand for entry-level homes, builders are struggling to hit that price point because of land, material, and labor costs.
Single women are buying twice as many homes as single men, and they have been for a few years. Married couples made up the largest group of buyers with 65% of purchases, with single women in second with 18% of home purchases. Older women are leading the charge in the second biggest group of buyers.
The conference finals are underway for the NBA Playoffs, so here are the top highlights from the semi-finals to get you excited.