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 spec homes, the spring housing season, virtual reality, Facebook, and tech getting too real. Dig in!
Hello Old Friend
Spec homes are making a comeback.
Homebuilders across the country are starting to build more spec homes because of the lack of housing inventory pretty much everywhere. Some builders are even starting to see an increase in their sales because of it. While spec homes have their pros and cons, more and more builders are being to look at this option again to compete with resale and because of how hot the market is right now, especially since this spring could be the most competitive since the great recession.
Not The Best News
But Not The Worst
New home sales didn’t quite hit their mark for February, falling .6% from January. Sales were still up .5% compared to last year, but it isn’t because people don’t want to buy. It’s because there aren’t enough homes to buy. Spring is shaping up to be a potentially great season depending on available inventory. In other news, mortgage rates are supposed to be going up from here on out. These increasing rates could end up raising mortgage rates three times as fast as home prices, which wouldn’t help with the affordability, or unaffordability, of homes around the country.
Facebook has been at the center of a lot of news lately, particularly around data privacy and you may have been hearing the name Cambridge Analytica a lot. Well it doesn’t look like things are starting to get easier for the social network giant, because the FTC has said they are now officially investigating the company on its data privacy practices.
Cost Cutting VR
Builders are starting to use virtual reality mock ups in lieu of physical mock ups and in some cases are seeing a 90% cost savings. Whether it be building models, virtual walk-throughs, or just basic 3D models, the technology has gotten a lot better in the last few years. The quality has become so realistic that the popularity of switching to virtual models from physical models or model homes is continuing to rise.
Last week at a gaming convention, Unreal Engine, a gaming engine company, showcased just how real VR may become. They showcased this through a Star Wars scene, but it gives a glimpse at the quality of virtual reality we could start seeing in housing this year. It’s not long before it’s impossible to tell the difference between real and virtual.
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If you like Planet Earth, you may be just as excited as we are for National Geographic’s new show, One Strange Rock.