Home ownership has been woven into the DNA of the American Dream for a long time. But today’s housing crisis seems to have other plans.
As of late 2020, the U.S. was short nearly 4 million housing units, spelling disaster for many struggling families and contributing to the sharp rise in the unhoused population we’re seeing nationwide.
There are a few factors to blame, including the lowest inventory of homes on the market we’ve experienced in five years, plus a huge hike in the median price since the pandemic hit. Combined with soaring rents, slowing new construction, and higher interest rates, owning a home in the U.S. has become an unreachable dream for many, and start-ups are noticing an opportunity to fill the gap.
WeWork founder, Adam Neumann recently announced a new venture called Flow, a residential real estate startup aiming to address problems like housing unavailability, the lack of social interaction in today’s isolated communities, and the inability of renters to gain equity. Neumann is set to acquire 3,000 apartment units that will be outfitted with more shared community features and an equity building program for renters.
And then there’s home equity access start-ups like Noah that invest upfront in owners’ homes in exchange for a share in the home’s value. The goal is to give homeowners control of their equity without going into debt. Nifty.
Modular and prefab housing are also growing markets in the start-up world. Cost efficient, eco-friendly, and durable, these structures are appealing to people who don’t want to wait a lifetime to own their own home. They also provide a sustainable and scalable solution for serving the houseless population and providing temporary or long term shelter after natural disasters.
And there’s the added perk of flexibility, a prized value among younger generations. Modular homes can be unpacked virtually anywhere–and suddenly those far-fetched plans for mini-compounds with chosen friends and family members don’t seem so out of reach. (Even Elon Musk reportedly snagged one to use as his guest house.)
As the economy ebbs and flows and the housing market continues to face rising challenges, innovative housing solutions are going to become more and more vital.
Apple expands self-repair program
Calling all DIYers. After launching a self-service program for iPhone users earlier this year, Apple is extending the experiment to include MacBooks. As of August 23rd, customers can buy or rent repair kits that include certified Apple parts, plus all the tools you’ll need to complete the fix.
Over a dozen repairs for each type of notebook are available, including common issues with displays, trackpads, and top cases with batteries. A wide variety of replacement parts are also being offered, covering everything from keycaps, fans, and speakers to Touch ID, and even high end mainboards.
If you have an older MacBook, though, you’re out of luck. The new wave of repair kits available through Apple’s Self-Service Repair Store and Apple Authorized Service Providers are only compatible for MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops with M1 chips.
Apple’s move to give customers the option to fix their own devices comes on the heels of the “right to repair” movement, which is putting increasing pressure on U.S. regulators to give customers more control over their own products.
Now all I can think about is the army of nerds building robots in their moms’ basements. (Hey, it could happen.)
HBO reshuffles, deals in Game of Thrones spinoff
The merger of Warner Bros. and Discovery has predictably come with some growing (and shrinking) pains. But apparently, no one quite expected the transition to be this drastic.
Tasked with finding $3 billion in savings, CEO David Zaslov hasn’t been shy about pulling the plug on popular projects and productions, with the latest casualties notably including Batman: Caped Crusader, starring Robert Pattinson, and five other HBO Max films and series.
Layoffs are also part of the equation. 70 jobs–14% of the total staff–in HBO Max’s unscripted and live action family programming divisions were eliminated earlier in the week. More are expected as Discovery+ and HBO Max are replaced with a combined streaming service sometime next year.
Meanwhile, the first episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones spinoff prequel series, House of the Dragon, drew 10 million viewers last Sunday, making it the the most watched series premiere in company history. (That’s more than double the viewership of Netflix’s fourth season of Stranger Things.)
In tandem with the show’s release, HBO Max pushed ads offering a 40% discount to the streaming service for customers who signed up for a year. Warner Bros Discovery is counting on this kind of long term viewership to buoy the platform as the transition continues. But at $20 million in production costs per episode, and cuts to other popular programming, it’s still a bit of a gamble.
One thing is for sure–the streaming wars just got a lot more interesting.
Best of the Week
Stats to see
When it comes to marketing toward generational audiences, stereotypes can often steer us in the wrong direction. (“Ok, Boomer.”) And it’s no different for Gen Z. Here’s the latest data on what marketers are getting wrong about “the youths”.
It’s no secret that videos are becoming more important to consumers than ever before. Here’s some handy tips to help you make the most of the medium for your brand.
Sites to see
The Tegan design team’s favorite site of the week is like wandering around a digital zen garden of sensory delight. Fornasetti Profumi’s immersive ASMR rooms are designed around their new line of scented candles that celebrate “the beauty of suspended time”.
Dallas has had more than a few rainy days this week, so naturally, we’re feeling all the feels around the office. Here’s some moody favorites from the team to help set the tone: Bon Iver, “slow” Harry Styles, Mat Kearney, Balmorhea, coffee shop vibes, and basically all of Ryan’s music.
More News from the Week.
- Floods, droughts, and other extreme weather are unearthing historical artifacts all over the world–from ancient Budhhist statues in China to prehistoric dinosaur tracks right here in Texas.
- Speaking of droughts, Regal Cinemas’ Cineworld is reportedly close to filing bankruptcy due to declining theater attendance. But not to worry, there’s a MoviePass relaunch in the works.
- Steve Jobs’ mid-70s Apple-1 prototype–and the “holy grail of Apple memorabilia”–sells for nearly $700,000 at an auction.
- Russia’s Star Coffee is a not-so-subtle Starbucks reboot after the company pulled out of the country (along with a slew of western businesses) after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Besides, “Tsarbucks” is right there . . . talk about a missed opportunity.
- The internet is roasting Papa John’s for the release of its experimental pizza bowls that are all toppings, no crust. I mean, I can’t blame them–who’s going to shell out dough for that?