The BYTE [2/12]


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 California living, wood 2.0, rising mortgage rates, a new way to refinance, and a hidden power plant. Dig in!


The Golden State
California is home to millions as well as Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and so much more. Now, California is starting to see a mass exodus and has the worst traffic in the world, specifically in LA.

What’s Going On?
The bay area holds the number one spot for out-migration right now. The big cities that people are moving to are Austin, Portland, and mainly inland cities. The biggest reason being cited for this migration out of California is the cost of housing. It is becoming so expensive even highly skilled workers can’t even entertain the thought of buying a house. Between the unaffordability and LA and San Francisco both being in the top five for the worst traffic in the world, California has some work on their hands to retain their skilled workforce.

It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane…

…No It’s Superwood!
Scientists at the University of Maryland announced last week that they have created a new way to treat wood that makes is 12x stronger and 10x tougher. They claim their new “Superwood” is strong and durable enough to compete with steel, while being 6x lighter and much cheaper. The process can be performed on any type of wood and in bulk. There is no news on when this will be available to the public but the implications of this in any industry that uses steel, carbon fiber, or titanium alloys are huge.

Take Notes

Rising Mortgage Rates
Redfin surveyed prospective home buyers to see if mortgage rates over 5% would deter them from looking for a home. Long story short, it wouldn’t. Only 6% said they would cancel their search if rates passed five percent. 27% said they’d slow their search to see if rates came down, 21% said they would try to buy sooner before rates went any higher, and 25% said it wouldn’t impact their search at all.

Last week Airbnb, Fannie Mae, and three lenders announced that they will now count Airbnb income as part of income when applying to refinance. This is a sign of the times, with lenders recognizing consumer behavior and new technology. It could signal a start to a rethinking of how homes and communities are financed, built, and planned.

In Plain Sight
The South Australian government announced a plan to build a Virtual Tesla Power Plant. The plan will roll out over the next four years and involve equipping 50,000 homes with Powerwalls and Solar Panels. The panels will power the house then send the extra energy back into the grid. This plan is expect to decrease overall energy bills and add energy stability to the region.

Totally Unrelated

All Together Now
The Winter Olympics 2018 are underway and they’re already amazing, here are some highlights: record breaking drones, triple axels, and robots skiing.

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