Tag Archive | "real-estate"

RealtyShares Raises $1.9 Million From General Catalyst To Crowdfund Real Estate Projects

Tags: , , , , , ,


Salesforce Will Pay $680M To Expand Its SF HQ Into The New Salesforce Tower

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Salesforce Tower

Microsoft Adds Data About 150M New Entities To Bing

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Microsoft today announced that it has added data about 150 million new entities to Bing’s entity engine — the company’s rough equivalent to Google’s Knowledge Graph. Over the course of the last few months, Microsoft said today, it has added real estate listings, as well as information about lawyers, doctors and dentists to the service. Bing also added more data about “web actives” — that is… Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Real Estate Crowdfunding Startup Realty Mogul Raises $9M

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Realty Mogul, a site that allows accredited investors to collectively back real estate projects, is announcing that it has raised a $9 million Series A led by Canaan Partners.

The startup launched a year ago, and in its first year it says 6,000 members invested $14.6 million in real estate projects worth more than $100 million. Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Porch Offers Detailed Reports About A Home’s Past Improvement Projects To Realtor.com Users

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Since its launch last year, Porch has amassed a huge database of historical records about home improvement projects and other work done at homes all across the United States. On its own website, it is only making this data available on a neighborhood level, but thanks to a partnership with Move’s Realtor.com, prospective homeowners can now request a detailed report about any of the homes listed on… Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Facebook pages redesign puts focus back on News Feed content

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Facebook on Monday introduced a new design for Facebook pages, making things such as key performance indicators more easily visible for managers, and location info easier to find for fans.

However, this move also signals that Facebook is moving away from tabs — which have been a popular tool for many Facebook marketers to draw attention to contests as well as get users to visit other entities such as an Instagram feed or website. Page admins can still draw users to the company website, a contest, or anything else, but it’s becoming clear that this will have to be done through News Feed posts and not direct visits to a page’s timeline.

When many page admins and marketers saw the new design, they wondered, “Where did the tabs go?”

Tabs will still be supported, but they will be tucked into the “More” module and without images. Here’s a preview:


The redesign makes the page timeline look a little more like a person’s timeline:

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 12.03.18 PM

While some marketers will see this is a ploy by Facebook to get pages to invest more in advertising, this move could be evidence that users aren’t that likely to visit a page’s timeline and would rather engage with a brand by seeing content in their News Feed. Does this mean more advertising to get into more users’ News Feeds? Well, that’s up to the individual pages. Facebook may be free for users, but much like any other platform, it’s going to cost either time or money (or both) if you’re looking to grow your business or generate sales through Facebook.

Facebook offers companies and marketers several ways to get a message out to their fans. While it’s important to have all pertinent (and fresh) information on the page’s timeline, most fans likely won’t click to view the page after they like it. If they do come back, it will be a rare instance. The most efficient and predictable way to get a brand’s message in front of a fan (or potential fan) through Facebook is through the News Feed — whether that means organic or paid. The redesign de-emphasizes tabs by placing them into the “More” box, prompting page admins to find other ways to let fans know what’s out there.

It’s not a malicious move to get more ad revenue; it’s Facebook trying to get pages to post better content and calls to action in the News Feed, where fans eyeballs are most likely to be.

However, Facebook PMD Woobox doesn’t think this is a death knell for tabs. In a recent blog post, the company gave their take on how marketers can still use Facebook tabs in light of this redesign:

Page Admins are concerned that their page tabs will no longer be relevant, and won’t be visible to their fans. However, when you look at a side-by-side comparison, you will notice that the new tab links are much closer in proximity to the News Feed – the old timeline had a whole lot of real estate between page tabs and page posts, which is where engagement occurs. The new layout places the tab links directly above the News Feed and the simple, non-cluttered layout grabs your attention!

Readers: What do you think this will mean for tabs on Facebook pages?

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

Zillow Hires Former Realtor.com President To Run Its B2B Business

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Online real estate marketplace Zillow today announced that it has hired Errol Samuelson, the former president of Realtor.com and chief strategy officer of Move, Inc., as its “chief industry development officer.” Samuelson will take executive oversight for the company’s business-to-business products and tools, including services like Diverse Solutions, which helps real estate… Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Google Capital Pours $50M Into Real Estate Marketplace Auction.com At A $1.2B Valuation

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Fresh of its public debut last week, Google Capital is putting more money to work this week with the announcement of a $50 million investment in real estate marketplace Auction.com. The valuation of the company post-money is $1.2 billion, and a representative from Google Capital will join the company’s Board of directors and another will take a board observer position. Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Online Real Estate Service Trulia Relaunches Its Mobile Apps

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Just ahead of the spring house hunting season, the online real estate service Trulia today launched a major redesign of its flagship mobile apps for iOS and Android.

The new design puts real estate photos at the center of the experience. The design team also moved to a flat look on both platforms and simplified the user experience to make things like saving houses significantly easier. In addition, the new apps make it easier to get information about neighborhoods (school, crime statistics, etc.).

Talk to anybody in the online real estate business and they will all tell you how important mobile has become to them. The last company to join the fray was Estately, which launched its first mobile app a few weeks ago, but Trulia had long been on mobile before today’s relaunch. Being on mobile early also clearly paid off for the company. According to Steven Yarger, Trulia’s director of mobile, the service now has more users on mobile than on the desktop, and over 60 percent of the company’s leads to real estate agents now come from mobile. The company currently sees over 14 million monthly unique visitors to its web and mobile properties.


It took Trulia quite a while to launch this update, given that iOS 7 has been out for quite a while, but Yarger argues that the company wanted to wait a bit to launch this new version in order to learn from what others were doing. For the first time ever, Trulia also wanted to launch both its new Android and iOS apps simultaneously. In addition, he noted that the house hunting season is only now heating up, so there wasn’t all that much rush to get these new versions out.

Besides its flagship real estate apps, Trulia also offers apps for renters and real estate agents, as well as a mortgage app. All of these will be updated to the new look in the near future.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Is Tech Money Good For San Francisco’s Middle-Class? An Economist’s Perspective

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


The liberal wonderland of the San Francisco Bay Area has one of the highest concentration of wealth in the country. Twitter’s IPO, alone, created an estimated 1,600 millionaires. But, are local residents catching any of the dollar bills being shaken from post-IPO money trees?

It’s been hard to decipher the broader impacts of technology on the average San Franciscan because heart string-tugging anecdotes have clouded the narrative. Critics of tech companies make headlines by protesting Google’s private buses and indirectly linking their existence with the surge in housing evictions. ”There’s a war brewing in the streets of San Francisco,” wrote former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.

On the other hand, tech champions like to trot out small business owners who have benefited from re-locating tech HQ’s to blighted areas of the city’s historic Market district. So, to cut through the cherry-picked anecdotes, I asked San Francisco’s local economists what their take is and, as you’d imagine, they fall somewhere between the techno-utopian dreamspeak that you sometimes hear in the industry and the dire descriptions of the activists.

One thing is clear: they believe that the money flowing into SF is a good thing and is bolstering the local economy.

There is a “but” in the economic optimism, and its big enough to need two plane seats: skyrocketing rents are pricing many locals out of the city. Some have managed to fasten themselves to rent-controlled properties, but many have been forcibly evicted from their homes. On balance, tech money has built one of the sturdiest economic shelters from the ravages of recession, but those who get hit, well, they get hit hard.

Local Multipliers Makin’ It Rain

“Our analysis suggests the tech sector is responsible for the vast majority of the economic growth in San Francisco since 2010,” said San Francisco’s Chief Economist, Ted Eagen. “In 2010-2012, the latest year we have complete data, local inflation has been 2.6%, while wages for all workers have increased by 4.5%.” About 2/3rds of those approximately 40,000 new jobs do not require a computer science degree or a closet full of expensive sneakers.

Partly thanks to the tech sector, the San Francisco Bay Area enjoys the 3rd lowest unemployment rate (4.8%) of California’s 58 counties. What accounts for this? Berkeley Economist Enrico Moretti argues that technologists have a special bond with the local economy.

“Anytime there is a job opening for a software engineer at Google In San Francisco, there’s an increase in the demand for local service workers,” he said. On average, Moretti says that every tech job creates five in other industries, as compared to just two from a manufacturing job. In part, because tech jobs just pay more there’s more disposable income to spend on maids, lawyers, and clothing.

“There must be someone who brings in the wealth,” said Moretti. Additionally, unlike the specialized needs of a manufacture, all the hair dresses, car washers, and tax pros that Google brings in for its workers are local. As a result, San Franciscans have seen their paychecks swell about 2x faster than inflation can eat it, (4.6% increase in wages vs. 2.6% inflation). From census data (below), San Francisco has fared slightly better than their surrounding California neighbors during the recession recovery. Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 1.50.30 PM “So outside of the tech industry, workers have benefitted from increased employment opportunities and rising real wages,” Eagan concludes.

However, It’s not all rainbows and sunshine. I spoke to one local clothing store owner whose story is a microcosm of all the city’s changes. The owner, who preferred to stay anonymous, resides on San Francisco’s Valencia St., the super-hip drag that has become the dividing line between the poverty-stricken Mission St just a half-a-block East.

As chic restaurants with +$20 entrees began to swarm his business, it likewise brought with it new customers willing to shell out their ample recreational budgets on new forms of expensive Bay Area entertainment. “Burning Man, it’s like Christmas for me,” he jokes, referring to the popular drug-friendly arts festival held in the Nevada desert every Fall, especially popular among Googlers.

But, his long-time regular clients were forced to move into cheaper parts of the Bay. “Most of my customer, they drove away,” he notes with a hint of melancholy. Sky-high rents have eroded both his additional income, as well as the regulars that used to grace his store.

And, this is where the otherwise happy tale of tech money gets dark: housing prices.

Home Ownership As Housesitting For Rich People Not Yet Moved In

Technologists are fans of a non-zero sum world, but they have yet to discover an app that can physically expand San Francisco, seasteading notwithstanding. Scarcity in housing has led to a rent-hiking arms race.

San Francisco is burdened with the least affordable housing in the country. Just 14% of homes are affordable to the middle-class and two bedroom apartments are above $3,200 for families. According to real estate website, Redfin, San Francisco housing is more than 3x as pricey as it’s windy city peer to the East, Chicago ($177K vs. $599,000). chart_2 With sky-high purchasing prices and rents, housing costs are outstripping the pace of salary for some in San Francisco. “In 2012 average rents paid (as measured by the Census) grew over 7%, which is faster than the wage increases for most non-tech industries,” said Eagan.

However, “The vast majority of rental units in San Francisco are covered by rent control, so workers who did not move out of such units since 2010 will have seen wages growing much faster than their rents.”

Unfortunately, some landlords has found a way to evict long-time residents, and the resulting fight has made the tech industry the target. One local bookstore owner in the Mission District told me the rent hikes have challenged some of the good that the tech industry has brought.

“There’s less crime, which is good; rents are insane, which is very very very bad,” he said. Without rent control, he says, he wouldn’t be able to live in his current neighborhood.

Do We Need Affordable Housing Units? 

The mayor is calling for more cheaper units reserved for struggling middle-class families making less than the $72,947 median income (yes, that’s the median income in San Francisco, FML). But, it’s unclear how many are needed, if at all, since government assistance begets bureaucracy, and city bureaucracy tends to slow things to a grinding halt.

Berkeley Economist Enrico Moretti tells me that increased housing supply does relieve rents in “every spectrum” of income. He observed that after Seattle significantly increased construction, rent hikes slowed even during a jobs boon that outpaced San Francisco’s.

Most importantly, the impact is linear, meaning that every single new house affects the price of every other house. The faster we build, the faster rent gets cheaper, and faster techies stop battling locals for coveted rent-controlled units. Unfortunately, there is no plausible economic model under which prices go down, and homes are already beyond the reach of 86% of middle-income families.

Hong Kong, California

We love economists, but sometimes they discount the innumerable parts of life. San Francisco has a long history restricting housing to maintain the quaint Victorian look of the Bay.  ”Do we want San Francisco to look like Hong Kong?” asks San Francisco State University Professor and former city planner, Jasper Rubin. He says that the city has never really tried to quantify the demand, but describes it as “tantamount to infinite.”

With enough housing to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of tech workers and wanna be entrepreneurs, San Francisco would be reshaped into a wall of sky-scrappers. Indeed, the good folks at Firstcultural.com simulated what the South Bay’s sky-line would look like if it housed all of the major tech company’s workers. It’s Hong Kong-ish:

Googleplex Housing Aerial from East

Thank A Techie, But Help The Needy

For most San Franciscans, tech’s presence has brought reprieve from a recession that ravaged the rest of the country. But, economists deal in averages; those who fall to the left of the distribution curve are subject to a game of capitalism Russian roulette, where their house and community are left to the whims of wealthier buyers.

The defenseless ought not be discounted in our praise of the tech sector, but we should also not forget that without their presence, San Francisco would likely be much worse off. Illustration: Bryce Durbin

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

April 2014
« Mar