Year: 2022

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Collecting NFT Art In Your Metaverse Home: Virtual Real Estate

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have been dominating headlines for the past year. While everyone has probably heard the acronym at least once, that doesn’t mean that everyone knows exactly what an NFT is. If you don’t know what an NFT is, don’t worry — let’s dive into it. A Primer on NFTs An NFT can be anything from digital art and collectibles to virtual immersive environments. An NFT is a secure file that’s stored on the blockchain. NFTs are incredibly secure because all of the data from their history is stored in the blockchain. They can’t be stolen or altered. When you access the NFT file, you get to see the digital goods and engage with them based on their programming. Remember, an NFT is really just a digital “thing.” I think of it as the coding that creates “matter,” or stuff, in the Metaverse. Since NFTs are secure, they can’t be hacked or altered illegally. That means that someone can’t “change” the integrity of the NFT goods, even though it’s all digital. In this way, the “stuff” of NFTs is a lot like the “stuff” in the real world. What is, is. We don’t have wizards magically reconstituting the matter we see in the physical world and suddenly changing it. It’s like the physics of the Metaverse. Sounding too much like The Matrix? The rabbit hole goes deeper. NFTs in the Metaverse Right now, NFTs are crazy popular, but they’re not being used to their full potential yet. NFTs are mainly being accessed through 2D interfaces, like computers, phones, and laptops. Whether it’s one of the famous Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs or an interactive environment designed by architect Daniel Arsham, people are primarily engaging with it as a typical digital file. But, NFTs are capable of a full potential that’s like a VR-360-3D environment for avatars in the Metaverse. They can be digitally accessed using VR and AR to simulate a real-world engaging experience. With access to the Metaverse just around the corner, NFTs are going to become more pivotal than ever. That’s because NFTs need Metaverse real estate. NFTs are going to be inside your Metaverse real estate — just like how you store your “stuff” (art, cars, collectibles, tools, furniture) in your home. The Metaverse Parallels the Real World  In the future, people are going to buy “art” for their “house,” but it’s really an NFT in metaverse real estate. Think about…

Will a coronavirus-induced recession make it easier to buy a house?

The 2008 recession yielded housing bargains in subsequent years, but it’s too early to know what the fallout from COVID-19 will be The 2008 financial crisis brought the global economy to its knees and sent American home prices into freefall. For anyone who managed to hang on to their job, savings, and credit score, the aftermath of the crisis was a prime opportunity to buy a house at a bargain price. The Great Recession is the only economic downturn millennials have lived through as adults, so, naturally, they might think that the next recession—which appears to be on the horizon because of the spread of COVID-19—will present a chance for many millennials to finally join the ranks of homeownership. The last recession was an anomaly in more ways than one, and its effect on the housing market is the biggest outlier relative to other recessions. The 2008 recession didn’t cause the housing market to go into freefall. The housing market going into freefall caused the recession. In the years leading up to that collapse, mortgage lenders were issuing mortgages that were destined to fail. Those mortgages were bundled into bonds and distributed across the global financial system. When people started defaulting on those mortgages, the financial system collapsed, and millions of homes went into foreclosure. Prices dropped. In contrast, the probable recession coming as a result of COVID-19 will be induced by cities going into lockdown, a necessary step toward preventing the further spread of the virus. Businesses closing or reducing production—particularly the airline, restaurant, and media industries—has caused more than 17 million Americans to file for unemployment since the outbreak. Prior to the pandemic, the housing market heading into this spring was set to be extremely competitive, as low inventory and low mortgage rates were a recipe for pushing already high prices up even further. A coronavirus-induced recession is hard to game out because there’s so much we don’t know yet, but Zillow looked at housing markets during previous pandemics and concluded that while the volume of housing transactions dropped dramatically, prices fell only a little, if at all. This makes intuitive sense. Home prices are determined by home transactions, and without transactions, prices don’t really move. A good way to think about homebuying during a pandemic is that the housing market is simply put on pause. Furthermore, the federal government has announced a moratorium on foreclosures on any mortgage backed by Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, or the Federal Housing Administration (FHA)…

Has Newton’s Community Process Gone Too Far?

Voters in Newton recently approved a 23-acre mixed use project that will provide 800 units of housing, as well as office space and retail space. The project was originally approved by the Newton City Council in a 17-7 vote, but a group in opposition of the project lobbied that the project’s fate should be voted on by town residents. Ultimately, the project was voted on and approved, partly in thanks to a group that rallied in support of the project. But we are left wondering if this is a case of community involvement gone too far as Greater Boston (and many other places in the country) is faced with a severe housing shortage. Read more about this case here.

Why Is the SJC Ruling in Murchison vs. Sherborn So Important?

Without a doubt, many of our fellow developers have already read about and rejoiced over the recent ruling from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) that essentially prevents neighbors of development projects from suing land-use decisions unless they can prove harm. But we want to again revisit why this is so important, not just for developers, but for everyone participating in the real estate market in Massachusetts. We all know that there is a housing shortage in the state, especially in Boston. Simple economics tells us that because demand is high and the housing stock is low, housing prices are high (both for rentals and home-buying). Therefore, in order for housing prices to come down, we need to increase supply. Developers everywhere are trying to do just that, but there are many hurdles along the way that prevent developers from increasing the housing stock at the rate it is needed. One such hurdle can come in the form of lawsuits from neighbors, which can easily delay a project for a year or more. So, the SJC ruling in favor of the development outlined in Murchison vs. Sherborn sets an important precedent that neighbors need to be able to prove harm in order to sue land-use decisions. Read more about the details and effects of this case here.

Experts Weigh In on Post-COVID Housing Market

Despite the obvious slow down in real estate market, experts are quite optimistic that the real estate market will pick right back up once COVID-19 resolves, especially in a market like Boston. With an already limited housing supply, experts also don’t expect a big dip in housing prices either. “Once the economy can return to normal, and people can get back to normal, I think the fundamental shortage of homes will still be there. That’s why I don’t see much prospect for prices to fall very far as a consequence of this,” said Jeff Tucker, a Zillow economist. In the meantime, real estate agents are getting creative with virtual tours and other ways of “showing” properties with prospective buyers and tenants and the City of Boston has created a fund to help tenants pay rent. For more details about the current and future housing market, click here.

Has COVID-19 revealed a long suspected economic driver of housing prices in Boston?

As the world began grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, many began to wonder what the economic fallout would be as businesses around the nation closed in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. As small and large sectors of the economy grinded to a halt, the likelihood of another economic recession became more and more likely. While there’s little doubt that we are currently experiencing a recession, we still do not know what the future holds for a recovery or what the lasting economic impact will be. The word “recession” evokes a particular type of pain for those involved in the real estate industry as they witnessed the Great Recession of 2008-2009 wreck havoc on the housing market and home values. While we have recently highlighted the differentiating causes between the housing collapse and this pandemic, the jury is still out on how the housing market will be affected in the medium and long term. However, a recent article posted in the Wall Street Journal reveals some surprising short term impacts of the coronavirus. Despite the economy shrinking, businesses closing and unemployment claims dramatically increasing, there seems to be another metric that’s charting an upward trend. While data from the National Association of Realtors shows that buyer demand has fallen 8.5% over the past month, median home prices during the same period rose 8%. How is it that home prices continue to rise in a seemingly decimated economy? The answer has to do with a problem that the City of Boston has been dealing with for many years now --- there just aren’t enough homes on the market to keep up with buyer demand. Therefore an already chronically undersupplied housing market is simultaneously suffering from a steep decrease in new home listings. So even though demand is down considerably during this pandemic, sellers are either refusing to list their homes for fear of strangers walking through them or they are taking a “wait and see” approach, rather than accepting offers below their asking prices. As a result, a smaller buyer pool is competing for an ever-shrinking inventory of new homes for sale. It is still too early to tell if this trend will continue holding true in the future, but many economists and industry leaders are projecting that home values will remain flat or even see a modest increase over the next year. Historically, If the Boston housing…