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 the dog days of summer, electrifying new products, disruption, a tech giant, and premade everything. Dig in!
Are We Ready?
Redfin took a deep dive into the housing numbers from April and we got our first glimpse of what this summer may look like for the housing market.
What’s In Store For Us?
April 2017 didn’t deviate from the last five years where the median home sales prices increased 6.2%. In other stats, 24.7% of homes sold above their list price, the highest percentage Redfin has recorded. Compared to April 2016 there are 13.3% less homes for sale. That 13.3% isn’t likely to get any better in the coming summer months. Records in speed and competition are being broken basically month over month but sales are likely to stay low all summer because there just aren’t as many homes to sell.
Mercedes-Benz is going to start selling home batteries that store solar energy. This is the second big company to enter the market after Tesla’s Powerwall. Mercedes’ batteries are individually smaller but also cheaper than Tesla’s. Mercedes is selling packages including solar tiles, installation, and the batteries with the highest package costing around $13,000 and storing 20kWh. While this tech relies on the sun for energy, a new type of chain-link fence will save consumers energy by blocking the sun. It is called Kaynemaile, and is inspired/designed by a consumer designer from Lord of the Rings. The material can help keep buildings much cooler without having to crank up the A.C.
According to Inc.com there are 4 stats that show why the real estate industry is “ripe for disruption.” 1) 51% of homebuyers found the home they buy online first but 88% still used a real estate agent. 2) Real estate uses 40% of the energy globally and 40% of raw materials produced. Reducing will be the key to saving. 3) 40% of office real estate sits empty now-a-days, so office builds may start declining sooner than later. 4) It has already started, in the last year around $1.8 billion has been put towards real estate tech startups, an 85% increase from the previous year.
Google just had their big I/O conference and showed us some pretty cool tech coming our way. Probably the biggest announcement they made was Google Lens. Basically it’s an AI built into the camera. It won’t be available for a little while but imagine pointing your phone at the internet modem and it connects to the wifi, or a restaurant store front and it pulling up reviews. They also announced 2 VR headsets that you won’t need to slip a phone into, a photo tool that will get rid of pesky chain-link fences from your photos, more precise tracking, and updates to Google Home.
Prefabricated homes are starting to pop up everywhere, but even hotels are starting to jump on the prefab train. Marriott is starting to build prefabricated hotel rooms. It has one hotel in California and another being built in Oklahoma City, but they are only starting there. They report the prefab hotel rooms are cheaper and more efficient to make and cut the construction waste from 5-6% down to 2-3%. They plan on signing up for another 50 factory built hotels by the end of the year.
Isn’t Canada Supposed To Be Friendly?
If you have a fear of what lies beneath maybe don’t watch this video of a girl getting pulled off a dock in Canada by a sea lion. Don’t worry, no person or animal was harmed in the end.