If you’re like me, you’ve probably never heard of the digital currency, ether, which competes with bitcoin – the more well-known digital currency. But, according to the CEO of cryptocurrency hedge fund Polychain Capital, Olaf Carlson-Wee, the value of ether could surpass bitcoin by the end of 2018. The driving factor of ether’s value is ethereum, the blockchain behind the currency. "What we’ve seen in ethereum is a much richer, organic developer ecosystem develop very, very quickly, which is what has driven ethereum’s price growth, which has actually been much more aggressive than bitcoin," said Carlson-Wee.
According to JLL, alternative assets have experienced about 250 percent growth since 2010, $14.8 billion to $52.1 billion in 2016. Alternative assets now make up 6.2 percent of the total commercial real estate market. This shit is due to investors preferring to diversify their real estate holdings rather than expanding to new geographies - making alternative assets more appealing. While this asset class has a positive outlook, there are still risks. Student housing has rising concerns around the ever-growing level of student debt, senior housing still doesn’t have enough baby boomers that require their services and lab, data center and cold storage spaces are complex assets to acquire and manage.
Architects in Chicago are exploring an 80 story beechwood tower. Halfway across the world, Stockholm plans to build the tallest residential building in the city out of wood. And, Zaha Hadid Architects just won the bid to build an all-timber soccer stadium in England. Does that make wood the next fad in building materials? Wood went out of style late in the 19th century, due to it’s unfortunate flammable nature. But, thanks to cross-laminated timber, a “super-strong plywood,” that’s not really an issue anymore. Potentially the best part of using wood as a building material, not only is wood technically a renewable resource, “Its environmental properties make it even more attractive; wood acts like a lock box for carbon dioxide, sequestering excess CO2 from the air.”
This week, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors approved the Affordable Housing Bonus Program. This is a law designed to reward multifamily developers who incorporate more affordable housing into their developments. Developers get incentives if 30 percent of the building's units are set aside as “affordable” - meaning 55 percent to 140 percent of city's median income. Currently, the Bay area has 10,000 fewer rental units than needed, and a recent report from the California Housing Partnership Corporation shows that residents making less than 50 percent of the media income are actually paying more than 50 percent of their earning to rent (the general rule is less than 30 percent). Critics are saying the added development would increase gentrification, but supporters say the bill is expected to help create 5,000 affordable units over 20 years.
We’ve seen many reports showing that Texas is a hub of domestic migration, but recent data released in the U-Haul migration trends report points to one city in particular – Houston. Even though the city saw a 3.4 percent decline last year compared to 2015, it is still the busiest domestic market for incoming U-Haul trucks, which has been true for the last eight years. Texas claimed three of the top five U-Haul destinations. Along with Houston, the top ten cities were Chicago, San Antonio, Orlando and Austin, Las Vegas, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Kansas City and Charlotte.