CRE tech news roundup: February 2019

From driverless cars to the CRE gender pay gap, we’ve rounded up some of the latest developments in tech and the industry at large to keep you in the ever-changing loop.

1. A world of driverless cars may be further off than originally thought

Although other forms of transportation, like planes and trains, have had success in “autopilot” or driverless implementation, driverless cars have encountered more obstacles. This is primarily because our roads are much more complex environments than highly controlled skies and railways. Crowded streets, road signs, other cars, pedestrians, varying weather, and unpredictable elements make this type of technology a tough one to master.

Current technologies are working to help driverless cars better communicate with and navigate their environments using sensors and learning algorithms. But the reality of a driverless world—and the ethical questions it sparks—are still uncertain. The CRE industry may not have to accommodate driverless car developments right now, but we still expect in the future, innovations like dedicated “driverless” spaces and lanes to have an impact.

2. Amazon acquires eero, expanding its smart home technology offerings

Amazon recently announced its acquisition of eero, which offers home mesh WiFi systems, showing its commitment to improving the smart home experience and becoming a larger player in the smart home technology space.

eero’s products and services aim to eliminate dead zones, provide consistent bandwidth to all connected devices and are customizable to an individual home. While connected devices are often implemented in single-family homes, these types of products and systems can also provide beneficial functionality within commercial properties, and could soon be a tenant expectation in offices and multifamily properties.

3. Will the success of co-working translate to co-living?

Some real estate developers are seeing an investment opportunity in creating co-living communities, the residential equivalent to co-working spaces. These housing units combine private bedrooms with communal kitchens and living spaces, leading some to make comparisons to dorm living.

This model has the potential to provide more affordable housing, make efficient use of space, and tap into a market where people value community and location over the privacy of their own cooking and living spaces. While some view co-living as a temporary solution or a fad, the idea offers a creative solution to high rent costs and housing shortages and may become a popular market for investors to tap.

4. 2018 CRE sales and prices show year-over-year growth

Commercial real estate sales reached near-record levels last year, thanks to a strong economy. The value of commercial properties sold was up 15 percent from 2017, and prices rose 6.2 percent from 2017 to 2018, showing a 30 percent increase over 2007 prices.

This year may see continued sales after the Federal Reserve’s recent announcement that it would keep interest rates steady. Corporate tax cuts and increased capital, as well as heightened interest from private-equity firms, could also contribute to growth, even as some in the industry fear a potential recession.

5. Commercial Real Estate Women Network white paper highlights gender pay gap

A recent white paper published by Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network delves into the ongoing gender pay disparity and the benefits of a gender-diverse leadership team.

A CREW Network 2015 study found “the [CRE] industry median annual compensation for women was $115,000 USD compared to $150,000 for men—an average income gap of 23.3%.” While this may show a smaller gap than the organization’s 2005 study, CREW’s white paper also cites research that, at the current rate of change, full-time working women may not achieve pay parity until 2119.

Our 2018 DNA of #CRE survey showed that male brokers outnumber women by four times, even though, according to international financial institute Credit Suisse, organizations where women account for 50 percent or more of senior management have “outperformed less gender equal firms each year since 2009.” So, it may be in firms’ favor to recruit and retain more female brokers.

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