The housing landscape has dramatically shifted in the last few generations, from the modest, affordable houses of the 1950s to the towering McMansions of the 1990s. Easy access to mortgages made buying a home in the ’90s not just popular, but practically a social mandate.
At that point, it usually made more sense for people to enter the real estate market and snatch up properties rather than rent. Yet, today, while McMansions may actually be seeing a resurgence in some areas, the right-sizing of homes is also trending. The baby boomers who bought those towering 7,000-square-foot McMansions in the ’90s are downsizing and looking for those “just-the-right-size” houses.
Today, too, it’s not just the preferences within the housing market that have changed; it’s also the mentality surrounding owning a home. Renting, increasingly, is a more desirable option, whether as a deliberate choice or one driven by financial woes and housing shortages. According to research from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the nation’s homeownership rate has been falling for more than eight years — from its peak of 69 percent in 2004, to roughly 63.7 percent in 2015.
Many would assume millennials are driving this rental trend, but while there are generational differences as to who is buying versus renting, every generation is now looking at renting as a lifestyle choice, because of its flexibility. According to a recent Harris Poll commissioned by Realty Mogul, home ownership is not the top priority for many Americans, regardless of their age.
Here are the lifestyles reflected by each generation and how buying or renting a home impacts each one.
Baby boomers grew up during a time when housing was affordable and plentiful, and the American Dream took hold of mainstream culture. Yet, while members of this group are more likely to own a home than the younger generations behind them, that doesn’t mean they’re categorically against renting.
According to reporting by the Chicago Tribune, baby boomers are opting to sell their sprawling suburban homes when they become empty nesters and choosing to live in rental buildings with full amenities, avoiding tasks like mowing, snow-shoveling and keeping up with a mortgage. The choice to live more freely and in proximity to restaurants, shopping and recreation gives baby boomers more flexibility and lifestyle choices.
There is also a difference between what male boomers and female boomers want. According to the Realty Mogul/Harris Poll research, women ages 65 and older are more likely to prefer renting than do their male counterparts. Thirty-one percent of women ages 65 and older prefer renting if it means living a flexible lifestyle, compared to only 17 percent of men of this age.
Generation X members aren’t quite as flexible in their lifestyle and housing preferences as their younger generational counterparts, but they aren’t too far behind millennials. According to reporting by CNN Money, Gen Xers are firmly staying in the rental market longer than expected. The reason, in part, is that higher rents and stagnant wages are making it harder to save up for a down payment.
But there’s another reason apart from finances driving Gen Xers to forgo homeownership: The Realty Mogul/Harris Poll research showed that this age group may well be eager to return to a fast and fancy free lifestyle. For example, over a third of Gen Xers surveyed would prefer renting over owning a home if that carried with it the flexibility to move and explore job opportunities and avoid home maintenance responsibilities.
Millennials have a reputation for forgoing traditional norms and are entering the housing market as home buyers much later than previous generations. Business Insider reported that millennial home ownership rates have fallen at a faster rate than that of any other age group. While some feel squeezed out of the housing market due to astronomical student-loan debt, others simply don’t see the value in owning over renting.
Instead, they want to save and use their money for lifestyle enhancements, like travel. In fact, nearly half of millennials (18 to 34) polled would rather save their money to spend on traveling than put it toward buying a home.
And it’s not just about travel, but lifestyle pleasures overall. Forty-seven percent of millennials surveyed said they would prefer renting if that meant they could still afford small luxuries like eating out and indulging in fancy coffees in their day-to-day lives, compared to 36 percent of those ages 35 to 44. Among those 65 years and older, only 25 of those surveyed felt the same way.
Rising trends in housing investment
Home ownership is still the norm for some generations like the boomers, and remains a cultural norm, yet it can no longer be assumed that each generation will step into home ownership. The rising trend in renting creates another benefit in the investment marketplace: Homeowners and real estate investors alike can benefit from the demand for quality rentals, as more people look to renting to help fuel their dreams of travel and flexibility.
Renting out a room or basement is relatively simple, with resources like Trulia for long-term options or Airbnb for short-term solutions. This turns your home into a passive income stream. If you’re looking to invest in real estate, saving up for a down payment or possibly leveraging the equity in your personal home are relatively straightforward options for those with good credit.
But the sheer volume of capital required to get in on a multi-family property is still an obstacle for many would-be investors. The current trend of crowdfunding properties has made it much easier to invest in commercial multi-family rental properties, even with as little as $1,000.
The new trend toward commercial crowdfunding is also a fascinating look at how investing in multi-family rental properties like apartment complexes no longer requires individual ownership. Instead, like-minded investors can crowdfund and collectively own these properties while creating passive income streams and collecting on those returns.
Do you prefer renting or buying? Let us know how you want to live by leaving a comment below:
Unilever Turns Up the Heat on Facebook & Google Over Tech’s ‘Unintended Consequences’
Unilever has issued a stern warning to digital platforms including Facebook, Google, and YouTube: do more to improve transparency and clean up the “swamp” of fake news, exploitative, and socially divisive content, or be cut off from its multi-billion dollar digital advertising budget.
CMO Keith Weed recently spoke at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual leadership meeting held in Palm Desert, Calif. CNBC quotes him as saying, “We need to redefine what is responsible business in the digital age because for all of the good the tech companies are doing, there’s some unintended consequences that now need addressing.”
Two of the most important consequences being referred to include the threatening of safety of users, especially young children, and loss of trust by consumers and companies at large.
While it’s unlikely that Unilever will turn its back on the two largest digital platforms, Weed’s words matter because of the sheer amount of ad budget Unilever holds across its portfolio brands. MediaPost reports that in 2017, the company spent approximately $9.8 billion on marketing and advertising, a quarter of which went to digital.
Beyond the public denouncements, Unilever is also working with IBM to develop a blockchain with which the company can more effectively reduce ad fraud via a record of what media is purchased and how it is delivered.
A separate MediaPost article shares YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki’s response to Weeds comments on Monday. In her own statement at Recode’s Code Media conference, she assured,
“We want to do the right set of things to build [Unilever’s] trust. They are building brands on YouTube, and we want to be sure that our brand is the right place to build their brand.”
Recent efforts we’ve seen in support of this include significant updates to its Creator Program policy. Further, in light of the recent Logan Paul controversy involving a video in which a suicide victim was filmed inside a Japanese forest, the company has suspended running ads on his channel, per Ad Age.
While brand safety is a concern on the minds of many marketers, Unilever’s public comments this week indicate that brands are viewing the issue with a much broader lens, and seriously questioning the role these platforms play in people’s everyday lives, beyond the world of advertising. In this important cultural moment, people are looking to brands and platforms to assume responsibility and be proactive to keep their spaces safe, trustworthy, and suitable for communities.
To further explore the overarching question of how technology, including digital platform giants, can be used to bring us closer together versus further apart, join us at SMWNYC April 24-27. Register today and save 20%.
Facebook’s Next Step in Building Community: $10M in Grants
Facebook has made several important announcements as of late the support its mission to create more “meaningful communities.” The latest? Investment in a newly announced Community Leadership program designed to support its community-building leaders through a variety of residency and fellowship opportunities that offer training, support, and funding.
Here’s how it will work: Facebook will name five “community leaders in residence” and provide up to $1 million each to fund their proposals, in addition to providing them with the opportunity to attend a customized leadership development training session.
Moreover, Facebook will select 100 individuals to join its fellowship program and receive up to $50,000 each for a “specific community initiative.” They’ll also participate in four in-person gatherings during which they will have the chance to meet and collaborate with other fellows.
Another key initiative in the works? Expanding Facebook’s “engineering team for community safety,” which is headquartered in London. In particular, the company hopes to double the number of employees focused on such efforts including detecting and stopping fake accounts, protecting people from harm (e.g harassment and scams), and making it easier to report content, by the end of 2018.
Further, Facebook outlined new tools for group admins, including page personalization options (e.g. color and the ability to pin announcements to the top of the page), the ability to create and share group rules; and more features to monitor Group Insights.
Outside of its Communities Summit, but along the theme of ensuring time on the platform is time well spent, the company also confirmed last week it was testing a downvote button that would allow users to provide feedback on comments in particular. The downvote button is being tested within a limited group of U.S. users for the time being.
This is not to be confused with a “dislike” button, but rather a more “lightweight way for people to provide a signal to Facebook that a comment is inappropriate, uncivil, or misleading”—this according to a Facebook spokesperson quoted in TechCrunch.
Here is what the button looks like in action:
As the screenshot depicts, the user will have the ability to select whether the post was found to be “offensive,” “misleading,” or “off topic,” the choices aimed to help guide Facebook’s course of action with respect to the particular piece of feedback.
Forbes adds that, the downvote option in its test mode only applies to public posts as opposed to Group posts or the Pages of public figures. It also doesn’t affect the ranking of the post and the number of downvotes a post gets won’t be publicly shared.
These initiatives by Facebook to reverse some of the negative perceptions of its role in society come at a critical time as brands and citizens alike are putting more and more pressure on the world’s leading tech platforms to course-correct their products for the safety of their users. Just this week, Unilever threatened to yank ad dollars from Facebook and Google due to the company’s growing dissatisfaction with their overall impact on society.
“We cannot have an environment where our consumers don’t trust what they see online,” stated Unilever CMO, Keith Weed, to the BBC.
Learn about Facebook’s increasingly complex role in society by joining SMWNYC April 24-27. The conference will offer multiple sessions designed to explore where brands and platforms fit into tech’s future in our world. Register today to secure your pass.
5 Ways Cryptocurrency Can Help Entrepreneurs in 2018
Cryptocurrency has revolutionized the way we transact value, invest our savings and raise capital with its decentralised digital cash system. Blockchain technology is a once-in-a-lifetime invention; never before in history have we been presented with such a breakthrough in financial technology. In 2018, entrepreneurs are well positioned to become early adopters of blockchain technology.
1. Raising capital
Cryptocurrency has disrupted the way early stage companies raise capital. With initial coin offerings, startups around the world can raise money quickly and cheaply from a wide pool of global investors. The valuation of a company is almost immediately reflected by the market, a process that has traditionally been challenging for early stage businesses. Shares are issued as tokens and tradable almost immediately, bringing large amounts of liquidity to the company.
This new approach to raising capital has changed the world and enabled the best technical talent to build their companies at high speed. In 2014, a teenager from Canada called Vitalik Buterin raised money for his startup, Ethereum, through an initial coin offering. He wanted to improve on Bitcoin’s blockchain and create a platform for people to build unstoppable applications. With just a whitepaper and a vision, he was able to successfully raise $18 million for his new blockchain, which was valued at over $100 billion as of January 2018.
2. Transacting value
Cryptocurrency enables us to transact value between peers without a centralized authority. It provides a cheaper, faster and more efficient alternative to traditional payment networks. As a company, accepting cryptocurrency payments is becoming increasingly efficient, saving on fees and bringing faster settlement. Soon, startups will no longer need to go through the long process of setting up a business bank account to receive and distribute funds. In 2014, Overstock.com became the first retailer to accept bitcoin, receiving over 800 orders worth $126,000 in bitcoin in the first 22 hours. It has since amassed a $403,000 portfolio of cryptocurrency.
3. Investing for the future
For entrepreneurs, cryptocurrency may be the investment opportunity of a lifetime. Never before in history have retail investors had investment access to high growth early stage companies. Traditionally, venture capital funds and private angel investors have held monopolies on access to investment in the world’s best technical talent. Cryptocurrency provides a gateway for anyone in the world to invest in the world’s most exciting technology, allowing retail investors to own a basket of high growth companies. For example, through the decentralized method of blockchain investment, teenager Erik Finnman was able to invest in Bitcoin in 2011, becoming a Bitcoin millionaire at age 18. These types of investment stories would not be possible with traditional private venture capital fundraising.
4. Developing on the blockchain
The blockchain offers powerful infrastructure for companies to run their technology and create entirely new business models in a trusted way without a centralized authority. Blockchain technology is already revolutionizing the way startups create value. The Ethereum platform allows companies to build unstoppable blockchain applications quickly and for free. One example of a company leveraging the Ethereum blockchain is OmiseGO, a payments company that is using blockchain to provide banking services for the world’s 2 billion unbanked population. Blockchain technology is a cost-efficient way of building decentralized applications that can scale to a global population.
5. Joining the blockchain community
The blockchain community offers access to some of the world’s best entrepreneurs, who are actively investing, advising and building upon the blockchain. Telegram, Facebook, WeChat, Slack and WhatsApp groups have proved popular in building communities of decentralized blockchain investors who can communicate with each other on a daily basis. Many large investments in early stage technology companies can be coordinated within minutes, a process that would traditionally take months in traditional venture capital. For example, in 2017, Brave’s Basic Attention Token sale sold out of its $35 million offering within 30 seconds. The blockchain community offers a strong sense of purpose with all members committed to a common goal of advancing blockchain technology to global adoption.
Cryptocurrency provides a platform for entrepreneurs to raise capital quickly, cheaply and efficiently. Entrepreneurs can transact value through the blockchain at high speed with limited setup costs and invest in high growth technology companies at an early stage. Platforms like Ethereum allow entrepreneurs to build decentralized applications to a global audience for free. The blockchain community offers access to some of the top entrepreneurs, engineers and investors in the world and in 2018, cryptocurrency will continue to provide a viable means for entrepreneurs to create value in the world.
7 Ways to Get Recruiters and Job Offers to Come to You
“You are your own brand, and you need to build that brand and promote it as much as possible. It is important that you start building your brand online, because this is where employers are going to be looking for potential employees,” suggests Dima Midon, an expert from TrafficBox. Use all of the online tools at your disposal, particularly LinkedIn, which is a professional network that allows you to really promote yourself as a professional, and someone who is an expert in your field. This is a great tool for job seekers. Make sure that you keep your profile up to date, especially when it comes to contact information, so when an employer searches you, they will be able to contact you if they are interested in learning more.
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