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The Future of Homes: From Smart to Autonomous

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For years, consumers have been promised that their homes will be connected and smart, integrating the latest technology to optimize and control lighting, heating, energy consumption, electronic devices, and security features.

However, the future has come a little slower than expected. By the end of 2017, it’s estimated that only 16.3% of Americans will live in a smart home, though this percentage will increase to 35.6% by 2021.

Examining the Smart Home Market

Today’s infographic comes from Insurance Quotes, and it helps to give an overview of the current market as well as the reasons for hesitation in the switch to smart homes.

The infographic also provides a future outlook, including the impending movement to “autonomous” smart homes.

The Future of Homes: From Smart to Autonomous

In 2016, smart systems were installed in about 45% of all homes in the U.S. that got renovated.

However, they are far from ubiquitous yet – many consumers still have concerns that are holding the market back from reaching its full potential.

Top Trepidations

The largest hindrance to smart homes for now is cost, which is cited by 42% of consumers as an obstacle.

However, there is also evidence that a fear of devices being hacked is also a challenge for many wanting to adopt the technology – in fact, 17% prospective buyers cite privacy and security concerns as a top hindrance. Further, about 10% of consumers have already had smart home devices hacked, and 87% of them had to shell out money to solve the issue.

Paradoxically, even though technologically superior security systems are a top reason that homeowners want to have smarter homes in the first place, the vast majority of IT experts say that IoT apps such as those used at home are far harder to secure than regular mobile apps.

Autonomous Smart Homes

After smart homes, the next logical step is an autonomous smart home that can learn based on your habits and behaviors. Such a home would recognize you and other family members, adapting things like temperature, lighting, or recommendations to you automatically based on your lifestyle and activities.

For this to work – everything would need to be truly connected: your mattress would assess how you sleep, your alarm would connect to your coffee maker, and the morning lighting would be shifted to match your evolving preferences.

While there are many uncertainties about what an autonomous smart home would mean, the inevitability of their rise is clear.

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Upward Momentum: Charting a Year of Skyscraper Construction

Nearly 150 skyscrapers were completed around the world last year. Find out which cities and regions are growing skyward the fastest.

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Ever since the first towering spires broke through the clouds in New York and Chicago, skyscrapers have remained a potent symbol of economic might.

The tallest buildings require vast amounts of materials, expertise, and capital to make them a reality, but the cities that add these landmarks to their skylines gain prestige and send a powerful message to competing economic centers.

Skyscraper Construction in 2018

Where are the most skyscrapers popping up? Let’s take a look at regional hot-spots around the world.

Charting a Year of Skyscraper Construction
Note: For the purposes of this article, “skyscraper” will refer to buildings 656 feet (200 meters) or more in height.

China is Flying High

For well over two decades, China has led the world in skyscraper construction, and 2018 was no exception.

The country’s fixation on urban growth and continued economic success is producing tall buildings at a staggering rate. Last year, a mind-boggling 89 skyscrapers were completed in 28 different cities around China.

To put this building boom into perspective, China completed more skyscrapers in one year than New York City’s entire stock of 656ft and taller buildings.

Skyscrapers in China

In 2018, no city reached for the stars quite like Shenzhen. The city, which is a hub of China’s high-flying tech sector, now has the second-most skyscrapers in the world, surpassed only by Dubai.

Shenzhen isn’t just building a lot of skyscrapers, it’s building extremely tall ones too.

In 2017, for example, the ribbon was cut on the massive Ping An Finance Center, which is currently the 4th tallest building in the world. Last year alone, four new towers cracked the 1,000ft (300m) barrier.

Asia, Rising

While China’s scale is hard to beat, other cities in the region are also undergoing dramatic changes, particularly in Southeast Asia. Malaysia and Indonesia completed a combined 13 new skyscrapers, and the Vincom Landmark 81 was added to Ho Chi Minh City’s growing roster of unique skyscrapers.

While there are two skyscrapers under construction in Japan – one in Tokyo and one in Yokohama – none of them were completed last year.

A New Era of American Skyscrapers

After a two-decade lull in skyscraper construction, the United States is embracing taller buildings again. Last year alone, the U.S. added 14 new skyscrapers into the mix, particularly in New York City, where construction cranes dot the horizon. In the past decade, NYC has added 25 new skyscrapers to its iconic skyline.

This trend is showing no signs of slowing down. Between now and 2022, 44 skyscraper projects are expected to be completed in the United States, with the vast majority being built in the Big Apple.

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Map: Where Real Estate Prices are Rising Fastest

Here are the biggest increases in median housing prices (per sq. ft) over the last 5 years. See where real estate prices are rising (and falling) the fastest.

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Mapped: Where Real Estate Prices are Rising the Fastest

The real estate market is a location game.

While forces like interest rates, demographics, and the economy help drive the housing market as a whole, the strength of your local market depends on other factors closer to home.

When you zoom out to look at U.S. real estate from a bird’s eye view, you’ll see this regional variance in full effect. Some markets are booming while others are tanking, and the contrast between the winners and losers is a stark one.

Real Estate Booms

Today’s infographic comes from TitleMax, and it shows where real estate prices are appreciating and depreciating the fastest.

We’ll start on the high end: here are the 10 cities that have seen the highest absolute growth in terms of price per square foot over the last five years.

RankCityStatePrice change (per sq. ft)
#1Beverly HillsCA+$764.43
#2Fisher IslandFL+$493.16
#3Mountain ViewCA+$452.67
#4San CarlosCA+$419.87
#5CupertinoCA+$418.44
#6SunnyvaleCA+$408.66
#7San FranciscoCA+$381.16
#8San MateoCA+$370.61
#9Santa MonicaCA+$364.48
#10Manhattan BeachCA+$363.11

Median home price change over 5-years, measured in price per sq. ft (Source: Zillow)

The only non-California locale to make it onto the list is Fisher Island in Miami, Florida, which is home to just 467 residents including Andre Agassi, Oprah Winfrey, and Robert Herjavec.

While these are absolute increases, it’s worth noting that they are still very significant in relative terms. For example, although it’s true that Beverley Hills is the most expensive housing market in the U.S., prices have risen 47% over the last five years.

Real Estate Busts

Things may be rosy in the Golden State, but there are also places spread throughout the country where prices are dropping fast.

Many of these are smaller, lesser-known locales – and while they are located all over the map, eight of them are in states along the Eastern Seaboard.

RankCityStatePrice change (per sq. ft)
#1SunsetSC-$64.31
#2SharonCT-$63.21
#3Lake ToxawayNC-$56.32
#4Atlantic CityNJ-$54.16
#5Somers PointNJ-$43.99
#6TiconderogaNY-$39.64
#7HamburgNJ-$38.11
#8GlenbrookNV-$34.36
#9WinstedCT-$34.23
#10MercerWI-$31.69

Median home price change over 5-years, measured in price per sq. ft (Source: Zillow)

A Stark Contrast

If you sold a 1,000 sq. ft condo in Beverley Hills – the country’s most expensive real estate market – it would likely net you about $1.6 million.

What could you buy for that in Tamaqua, PA, the country’s cheapest?

In theory, you could pick up roughly 71,000 sq. ft of real estate – that’s about 10 mansions worth, or just short of the size of an average Walmart.

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