It's miserable trying to buy a house right now
Hi, I'm Matt Turner, the editor-in-chief of business at Insider. Welcome back to
On the agenda today:
- Buying a home hasn't been this tough since the Great Recession hit.
- This 23-year-old went from intern to Andreessen Horowitz partner in a year.
- Gen Z is the loneliest generation — and it's their parents' fault.
- Numerous models told Insider that "America's Next Top Model" left them traumatized.
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Wall Street's supercharging the housing market
If you or someone you know has tried buying a home in the past six months, you've likely heard the horror stories.
Personally, I've heard from friends in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and other cities across the US. Homes that look as though they might be within someone's budget end up going for 30% to 40% above asking. All-cash buyers are snapping up prime spots. Many homes are selling sight-unseen.
To make matters worse, mortgage rates have rocketed, sending monthly costs higher, and deep-pocketed investors, many of them backed by billions from Wall Street, are adding competition. According to one recent analysis, investors bought a third of all US homes for sale in the first quarter, the highest in at least a decade.
Meanwhile, startups are springing up ready to help those who already own a home to access some of their equity.
It's not surprising then that the number of people searching for information about a housing bubble has also skyrocketed. Read for a Q&A with the real-estate reporter James Rodriguez breaking down what's going on.
What's one of the biggest things we're seeing right now in the housing market?
The biggest story right now is mortgage rates, which over the past three months have risen at the fastest pace in nearly 28 years. Early in the pandemic, record-low mortgage rates encouraged buying activity despite rising home prices. But this week, the average rate for a 30-year loan hit 5% for the first time since 2011 — meaning hopeful buyers are staring down more expensive monthly payments, on top of the shortage of listings and intense competition for homes.
One of your recent hit stories focused on someone who sold Wall Street a stake in her home. What's going on with this trend?
Home values have soared over the past two years, which means American homeowners are sitting on trillions of dollars of equity that's basically trapped unless they sell their home, refinance, or get a home-equity line of credit.
But those options don't work for everyone, and a number of companies are offering an alternative called "home-equity investments," in which they give homeowners cash in exchange for a percentage of their home's future appreciation. These companies are backed by billions of dollars from Wall Street firms, which are eager to increase their bets on the US housing market.
The number of people googling "Is there a housing bubble?" has skyrocketed. What would you say to them?
A lot of the concern about a housing bubble today stems from the Fed raising interest rates, which increases the odds of a recession. The good news, though, is that the experts we've talked to largely agree that the fundamentals of the housing market today are vastly different than in the run-up to the financial crisis — lending standards have tightened and there's far less supply relative to demand, which indicates the market is on more solid footing than it was in 2008.
Read more here:
- Americans are sitting on $26 trillion of home equity. This startup wants to help turn some of that into cash.
- Investors bought a third of US homes for sale in January, the highest percentage in at least a decade, a new analysis says
- House flipping has soared back to levels seen before the 2008 housing crash. Aspiring flippers have 3 reasons to beware.
From intern to Andreessen Horowitz partner in a year
In 2021 — after already having dropped out of Harvard (twice) and working for Apple and Microsoft — 23-year-old Carra Wu landed a coveted internship at Andreessen Horowitz, the Silicon Valley VC firm that's reached deeper into the crypto market than any rival.
Now, a year later, Wu is the firm's youngest check writer and a rising star in the crypto-investing world — and it all started with a six-sentence cold email.
Read the full story here:
- How Carra Wu, a 23-year-old crypto investor, went from intern to Andreessen Horowitz partner in a year
Gen Z is even lonelier than previous generations
Generation Z is the most accomplished generation: They have more years of formal education, lower high-school dropout rates, are more likely to avoid drug use, and have lower rates of teen pregnancy. But they're also incredibly lonely.
A new study found that Gen Zers have fewer meals with their family, have less free time, and feel more pressure from their parents than previous generations, creating a pervasive feeling of loneliness — which has been exacerbated by their parents.
Read the full story here:
Many models say Tyra Banks' 'ANTM' left them traumatized
"America's Next Top Model," a modeling-boot camp-competition hybrid, was reality-TV gold, designed as a golden ticket for models who wouldn't have had the opportunity to break into the fashion industry otherwise.
But as the seasons wore on, the photo shoots, makeovers, and challenges became increasingly preposterous, and many models told Insider it came at the cost of their mental — and physical — health.
Read the full story here:
- Tyra Banks wanted 'America's Next Top Model' to fix fashion. Now, some contestants say the show was 'psychological warfare.'
More of this week's top reads:
- Bankers are fretting over jobs and bonuses as investment-banking fees plummet.
- Intuit gave most Mailchimp employees 10% raises — but insiders say morale remains low.
- JPMorgan is adding 25 new "mini CEOs."
- Amazon's healthcare boss lays out the "four key pillars" of the company's ambition.
- The office friendship is dead. That's bad for all of us — especially our employers.
- Engineers at Yandex, Russia's Google rival, are fleeing — leaving spouses and salaries behind.
- A 31-year-old Black HR worker making $200,000 a year explains how job-hopping helped her win big pay bumps.
Plus: Keep updated with the latest business news throughout your weekdays by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio news brief from the Insider newsroom. Listen here tomorrow.
Curated by Matt Turner. Edited by Jordan Parker Erb and Lisa Ryan. Sign up for more Insider newsletters here.
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