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Tech Takes the Stage at State of the Union

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Did anyone else notice that tech policy played a prominent role in last night’s State of the Union Address?  While the overall theme was investment and innovation many policy proposals long advocated by the tech policy crowd made their way into last night’s speech. Access to high-speed broadband—mobile in particular, was the issue that pricked up my ears as being most relevant for the real estate industry.

Beyond the substance of the speech, technology and more specifically, social media was all over the presentation and delivery. Viewers watching on C-SPAN 2 could see tweets from members of Congress scroll by as the President delivered his address. Those viewing the speech online on the White House website were treated to a PowerPoint presentation along with the speech.  And of course all of you on twitter following #sotu were guests at a digital party complete with Lani’s sartorial review of last night’s events.  For the techie crowd it’s a new dawn, a new day and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

But…now back to the policy. Last night President Obama called on policymakers to expand wireless access to 98 percent of Americans within the next five years.  It is a stretch goal to be sure, but one that is well worth undertaking.  As the President said “This isn’t just about a faster Internet and fewer dropped calls. It’s about a firefighter who can download the design of burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.” To add the real estate context, it’s about REALTORs giving consumer what they want, fast anytime access and the ability to transact at anytime from anywhere.

Congress is also getting in on the wireless broadband act. Yesterday, Senator Jay Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee introduced a bill that would among other things, free up more airwaves for wireless communications.

It remains to be seen what will actually pan out but, I for one am encouraged by the increased focus on technology and innovation.  What did you think of the President’s address?  Did you follow online or with social media?  I’m curious to hear about your experience.

Photo Credit: Medill DC on Flickr via CC license

Melanie is the Senior Technology Policy Representative at the National Association of Realtors. That means she lobbies Congress and Federal Agencies on technology policy issues of importance to the real estate industry. In her pre-NAR life Melanie has been a practicing attorney and a software start-up executive. Like any native Californian, Melanie loves good wine and bountiful farmers markets.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Angela

    January 26, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    It is amazing how technology is spreading like wildfire. My head is spinning with what it means for our business. Thanks for the information, I did not watch the address last night.

  2. Melanie Wyne

    January 26, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Angela,

    You are so right…technology is no longer a separate silo to be left to the programmers and other geeks. It is woven throughout businesses large and small at every level. That is why it is more important than ever to pay attention…those that do will survive the rapid changes to the market place.

  3. Diana Hoyt

    January 27, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Mobile technology is here to stay and it needs to be able to grow without obstacles. I live in a fairly rural part of the country and a lot of old timers are not ready or willing to embrace such a fast moving technology, making it difficult for those of us who do utilize the ever changing technologies.

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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