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Appreciating Prices, Surging Mortgage Rates: Double Whammy for First-Time Homebuyers
What is hurting the housing industry? Experts believe that it is the weakening affordability, especially amid the buyers at the lower end of the market, the actual demand generators. Home prices witnessed a surge of more than 14% in April year over year. How did this growth affect demand? The answer is not encouraging. Mortgage applications dipped by 17% annually, the slowest pace since the start of May 2020.
- Smaller Loan Applicants Getting Left Out: Who is bearing the brunt of price appreciation? According to Michael Fratantoni, chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association, first-time homebuyers getting small-sized loans are the sufferers. They are not getting the perfect entry point they need with their moderate budget.
- Why the Rise in Demand? The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic had the most crucial role to play. With the stay-at-home orders coming into effect, more and more Americans started searching for larger homes. They needed more space. The demand for homes was more in the suburban areas. The month of May, this year, saw home sales attaining their highest levels since 2005.
The Other Big Blow
While low mortgage rates fueled and supported the demand last year, it has become a roadblock this year. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances went up from 3.18% to 3.20%. It was much lower, around 2.85%, at the beginning of 2021.
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NCR-NYDIG Deal Expected to Make Crypto’s Entry Deeper into Mainstream Banking
NCR, the enterprise payment industry leader, and the digital asset management firm, NYDIG, have struck a deal that’s going to have a significant impact on the crypto market. It has two phases.
- Phase 1 of the Deal: The deal will help NCR’s banking clients buy, sell, and trade cryptocurrencies from their mobile phones, including bitcoin. The purchaser will feel they’re working with the bank, while the NYDIG will be the actual custodians of these assets. Banks will pay NYDIG a per-user per-month fee.
- Phase 2 of the Deal: Implementing phase two of the deal would mean NCR gradually taking custody of the assets from NYDIG.
The Impact of the Deal
NCR has been in the business since 1884. With an employee base of 34,000, NCR is into digital banking services, ATMs, and restaurant point-of-sale kiosks, with its service available in 160 countries worldwide. The deal would mean the strengthening of the National Cash Register’s cryptocurrency service wing. It will empower 650 American banks to offer bitcoin purchases to nearly 24 million customers.
NCR is working with 200,000 restaurants and other retail clients to facilitate accepting payments in cryptocurrency. It also has plans to set up 800,000 ATMs where Bitcoin purchases would be made available.
Facebook Announces a Wide Array of Shopping and Discovery Tools
In a Livestream by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook has declared of bringing in a wide range of shopping and discovery tools, augmenting its role in eCommerce further. Let us have a look at these upcoming features:
- Shops on Whatsapp: It will empower businesses to present their entire shop through users through WhatsApp. Users can find the product they need and get in touch with the owner for further inquiries.
- Shop Listings to Marketplace: This will help eCommerce store’s product listings expand to Facebook Marketplace, translating into more interested shoppers easily connecting with their preferred brands.
- Personalized Shop Ads: It will showcase items based on the user’s shopping behavior and history. For businesses, this means more focussed targeting and a higher probability of conversion.
- Visual Search Tool: Similar to Pinterest Lens and Google Lens, the Visual Search functionality locates similar product listings, matching items scanned by the user from the real world or uploaded photos or videos of the product.
Facebook is also testing its AR Dynamic Ads and working on its AR try-on partnerships.
Taking On Existing Newsletter Platforms, Facebook Launches Bulletin
The bulletin will be a collection of publishing and subscription tools aimed at helping independent writers in the states. It will be free and offer its users a standalone website.
- The Publishing Tools: The website will come with a customizable name, logo, and color palette. One can embed media into their writings, styling them as they wish to.
- The Distribution Tools: Bulletin will be available for integration with Facebook Pages. Also, Facebook News will take up the work of Bulletin writers for distribution.
The initial list of Facebook Bulletin creators includes several famous names, including Malcolm Gladwell, Jane Wells, Erin Andrews, and Adam Grant. Facebook will sign up more creators in the weeks to come. However, the sign-up feature is not yet open. Unlike its competitors, such as Substack and Revue, Bulletin won’t take a cut from the user’s revenue.
Energy-Efficient Electric Motor Startup Raises $225 Million
Turntide Technologies is a US-based startup. Its unique capability helps manufacture energy-efficient electric motors without rare earth metals. The startup has raised $225 million with investment from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Its investors also include funds supported by Bill Gates, actor Robert Downey Jr, Amazon, and BMW.
The Turntide Mojo
Automotive companies need rare-earth-based magnets in manufacturing EVs. The raw materials of these magnets are highly priced and potentially damaging to the environment. Moreover, China has a monopoly on production.
Turntide helps combat all these challenges with their rare earth metal-free electric motors helping circulate air efficiently.
Current Clientele and Future Growth
The buildings of Amazon use it. Volkswagen’s MAN division and Aston Martin’s supercars also leverage these motors. The company is expanding its capacity by purchasing Hyperdrive and BorgWarner’s engineering technical center business. With a foothold in the automotive sector, rising demand for better quality air is fueling Turntide’s future growth trajectory.