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2020: Housing costs will rise, despite stellar employment and interest rates

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING)The housing market is always shifting, economists are optomistic about 2020 regardless of high housing costs because unemplyment and interest rates are low

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Housing hands

As unemployment and interest rates continue to drop, the cost of homes is on the rise! From increased prices to a growing interest in dog parks, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) has offered a few projected trends for the 2020 housing market:

1. Low interest rates

Fun fact: according to Dr. Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the NAR, mortgage rates have been decreasing thanks to considerations made by the Federal Reserve. That’s right, the Federal Reserve is helping make change simply by talking about policy! The result has been historically low interest rates for mortgages.

While these will continue to stay low for the time being, Yun does predict that mortgage rates will start to rise as inflation picks up.

2. Higher housing prices

When it comes to housing prices, we don’t have to look much further than the basics of supply and demand. Over the last several years, building has slowed and housing tenure (how long an individual remains in a specific house) has increased. The lower supply of houses increases the demand for each individual home.

Between the increasingly competitive market and the growing accessibility of mortgages, Yun projects a “baseline growth rate of 1.5% for 2020.”

3. Foreign buyers

Although there has been growth in the United States economy when it comes to employment, that isn’t the case everywhere. In fact, according to Gay Cororaton, director of housing and commercial research at NAR, “Foreign buyer purchases have declined sharply since 2017.”

While some of this decrease comes from financial pressure – the Chinese yuan, for example, has been losing value – some of the loss of foreign buyers comes from strained international relations between the U.S. and other countries. There might be growth in the housing market, but it isn’t coming from foreign buyers anymore.

4. Dog parks

Okay, so what’s the deal with dog parks? Well, it has to do with birth rates. According to Dr. Jessica Lautz, VP of demographics and behavioral insights at NAR, as the birth rates have dropped, it’s lead to a decrease in households with children.

In the past, a neighborhood near a good school might have been key for a young family, but that’s no longer a selling point for childless couples. That doesn’t mean people don’t want the best for their family, it just means instead of a child, there might be a dog instead. As such, there’s an increase in demand for housing areas close to dog parks and similar outdoor spaces.

The housing market might be shifting in 2020, but experts are optimistic about the prospects.

Brittany is a Staff Writer for The American Genius with a Master's in Media Studies under her belt. When she's not writing or analyzing the educational potential of video games, she's probably baking.

Real Estate Marketing

Women earn only a fraction of venture capital…what’s the deal?

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) If you thought gender bias was a thing of the past, you haven’t been looking hard enough. It’s new hiding spot is in venture capital investments.

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woman getting venture capital

A 2018 study shows that only 3% of US venture capital went towards female CEOs. Is the news annoying? Yes. Surprising? Not really.

Chances are you’ve heard the tale of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s blind auditions. Essentially, the story goes that the Boston Symphony Orchestra started to hold blind auditions in an attempt to achieve better gender parity…but the numbers of women in the ranks did not increase much. It wasn’t until they realized that the sound of high heels could be heard that the judges realized there was likely still unintentional bias in their rankings. When carpet was put down to muffle the heels, the number of women performers selected increased.

The gender bias is real. For instance, studies have been done where male and female names are applied to the exact same resume and – you guessed it – the resumes with men’s names are much more likely to be selected for an interview. They’re even offered better pay.

Race is also a factor: women of color were assumed to have less education than men, even with the exact same resume.

So, how is the venture capital scene failing women? Harvard Business Review points to the pitching process.

Part of the problem ties into implicit gender bias. In a 2014 study by the Harvard Kennedy School, researchers found that pitches with the exact same script were better received when presented by a man. In fact, even female investors were more likely to choose the pitch headed up by a man.

If at this point you’re thinking we should try to make a pitch anonymous, that’s a good start…but it might not solve all the problems. Women tend to write different styles of pitches, ones that value quantitative proof of concept, rather than grandiose claims of what the company could become.

Women often have to work harder than men to earn their positions, so it’s not surprising that many feel like they need to spend time in their pitches proving why they should even be in the room. Unfortunately, it shows in their pitches, putting them at a disadvantage in the pitching process.

And these are likely just a few of the reasons why it can be more difficult for women to earn capital for their businesses. We’ve only scratched the surface of what women are capable of accomplishing; we need to do better.

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Real Estate Marketing

Influencers come in many shapes and sizes, which can you be?

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Life isn’t a popularity contest…until it is. Influencers have a secret edge on all of us, but there are multiple ways to get to the top.

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difference in influencers

The concept of influencers is a fairly polarizing one.

I don’t mean in the sense of ‘Spoiled child demands free ice cream because Instagram’, anyone who has any sense of decency or of what they’re doing already knows that’s a bunch of hot mess.

I mean the idea of what makes a personality truly viable enough to earn regular income from. I’ve heard people say it’s an exciting new industry to enter, and I’ve heard others say it’s an impossible bubble waiting to pop.

Usually people in the second half strike me as the sorts that got picked last for kickball, rubbing their hands together at the idea of the popular kids growing up to be losers. And as much as I like revenge, the more myopic nerds are wrong on this one.

Being an influencer is a viable career IF you have what it takes, and not only do most people NOT have it, they don’t even know what “it” is.

I want to take the first chunk here to dispel the myth of ‘Influencing is only for dumb pretty people with a working phone camera’. No, dear reader, no.

Influencing is for SMART pretty people with a camera CREW.

You couldn’t PAY me to do stuff like waxing, or microblading, or juice cleansing (which is just starving plus vitamin C), but all that jazz is literally just one part of a business-model’s business model.

It takes a lot of upfront money, strategy, and hard work to be a looks-based influencer, even if someone born cute makes it seem easy.

With that out of the way, there’s another myth that could use debunking: the idea that (conventional) beauty, travel, and fitness influencers are the only kinds.

Content isn’t the king people pretend it is. CURATION is what really wears the crown. The freaks, the stoners, the tabletop gamers, the “fatties” (and I resemble that remark)—there are influencers in literally all of these categories and all the presumed undesirable ones beyond.

Am I going to pretend Kim K and gothic “sinfluencers” like Jillian Venters and Aurelio Voltaire have the same amount of pull everywhere? Of course not. But are these people garnering physical audiences and legitimate income based on catering to a niche they already liked?

Yes. Exactly.

Look at how The Nostalgia Critic, an ‘average Joe’ type—balding, bespectacled, with a mini paunch—screaming about movies online transformed the face of YouTube through sheer presence and persistence. Once his channel took off, after years of laptop-cam shot videos in his basement BEFORE paid co-stars and studio space, he and his cowriter spawned loads of copycat ‘Angry XYZ reviewer’ channels, some of which stayed the distance and developed their own voice, and some that didn’t.

Dude didn’t need a Brazilian butt-lift or filled in brows to do that, and neither does anyone else willing to commit enough of their time to their craft and spreading its influence.

Even though I said content wasn’t the one true king, it isn’t exactly a peasant. If you’re a miniature-figurine painting geekazoid, but you’re too busy doing other cool/weird stuff to update your channel frequently, influence is something you’ll never have.

For some people, that’s fine since it’s not a priority. For everyone who wants to make money off of their hobbies, it’s either create, curate, and publish, or kiss that Black Acrylic Paint sponsorship goodbye.

I think the fact that you need to be smart and consistent for years at a stretch gets to a lot of people, no matter what their area is. A few hashtags on your ab-pics or your crafts, or both will not a following of thousands garner. And even for those who find themselves rocketed to fame through a chance viral happening, if their foundation wasn’t already there: a watermark developed, a team of potential collaborators followed, a portfolio, etc, they’ve been gifted a roof with no house under it. Luck has to find you already working.

So whether we like what they do or not, let’s at least acknowledge that influencers are working. Whether you like/follow/comment is up to you.

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Real Estate Marketing

Turning plastic waste to lumber, Goodwood is the savior this world needs.

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Goodwood plastic is a company that has some great uses for old plastic waste. As the saying goes “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!”

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plastic waste turned into lumber

If ever there was a niche to fill in this world, it’s finding more uses for plastic waste. With public concerns for global warming on the rise, more people and local governments are starting to search for ways to be more eco-friendly and reduce their plastic waste.

Plastic use has become a pain-point for modern consumers. People are searching for companies who use less, or no, plastic in their packaging. Having a clear plan for reducing your company’s carbon footprint is not only good for the Earth, it’s good for business.

While many companies are working to reduce their use of plastic packaging, one Canadian company is taking charge of the single-use plastics already floating around the world.

Goodwood Plastic Products is turning plastic waste into lumber. Yes, you read that right. Lumber.
The leaders over at Goodwood Plastic aren’t wizards, but they are brilliant. The company takes single-use plastics and recycles them into sturdy, innovative building materials. These building blocks can be drilled, nailed, and glued just like lumber. The building blocks even have superior durability to traditional lumber and do not suffer from the same kind of deterioration.

Goodwood is currently working with the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia to recycle about 80% of the plastic recyclables collected in the city. City officials are thrilled to have a local company helping them find a use for such a large quantity of their waste. The Halifax Solid Waste Division Manager, Andrew Philopoulos says the city would have a hard time dealing with the plastic waste without Goodwoods services.

“Without them, I think we would find it challenging to find a market for a lot of the plastic packaging that we are collecting.”

Goodwood has made headlines before. Recently, they partnered with Canadian grocery store, Sobeys, to make a parking lot completely out of post-consumer plastics taken from landfills. And it doesn’t appear that they are slowing down anytime soon. Their latest venture will focus on recycling fishing gear, which makes up a significant amount of plastic waste in oceans and causes immense harm to sea life.
The vice president of Goodwood, Mike Chassie, hopes that their business model will inspire others to fight the good fight against post-consumer plastic.

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