Meta Platforms has stopped the development of a new software operating system to power its virtual reality devices and upcoming augmented reality glasses, according to two people familiar with the decision. Shelving the project marked a setback for the company’s attempt to own the underlying software behind its Oculus VR headset and future augmented or mixed reality devices. The Stratechery thinks Apple, thanks to this decision, is going to have a performance advantage.
Nearly 40% of all homes in the U.S which is almost half of the homes in the country are free and clear. They're paid off and they don't even have a mortgage. When it speaks to the stability of the housing market that is a very bullish indicator, says real estate investor Jason Hartman. In the last year, the average home has had a 57,000 increase in equity and that's only year over year and not over the last three years five years. Source(5:53)
Lumber costs skyrocket, lifting new home prices by nearly $20K. Lumber prices are surging again after months of moderation, causing the average price of a new single-family home to rise by $18,600, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The price increase has also added $7,300 to the average value of new multi-family homes, adding $67 a month in costs for families renting new apartments.
FHFA raises fees on high-balance second-home loans and on mortgages that finance homes with balances that exceed standard conforming loan limits. The fees are expected to increase the purchase cost of second homes and homes in high-cost areas. The new fees from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will take effect on April 1. Upfront fees for mortgage loans on second homes will rise between 1.125% and 3.875%. Read more here.
U.S. mortgage rates rose to their highest levels since May 2020, driving up the costs associated with home buying at a time when home-sales prices are already near record highs. The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate loan was 3.22%, up from 3.11% last week, according to mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac. Households that kept their jobs and saved money during the pandemic seized on low borrowing costs to buy bigger homes. Read more here.
Housing costs will be permanently higher following the pandemic, according to a housing study by OJO Labs. After two years of topsy-turvy pricing trends, home price and rent appreciation have finally caught up with each other which is a signal that permanently higher housing costs will be the name of the game for buyers and renters alike.
WHAT TO WATCH
A lot of new electric cars are coming to the market soon. Toyota and Volkswagen are going to invest a combined 170 billion dollars to take on Tesla over the next decade and also Sony will be entering the space. Jason Calacanis and co-host Molly Wood think this shows that companies now acknowledge the fact that customers are starting to be conscious about the impact tech can have on the environment which is a spark that Tesla started by breaking into the EV space. Source(2:08)
Volkswagen will unveil an EV version of the hippie-era minibus in March. Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess announced the date Thursday in a Twitter post that sketched out the contours of the new design, which draws on the lines of the original model. Recently, VW has built a dedicated architecture that will underpin a total of 27 battery-powered models by the end of this year. Read more here.
General Motors to supply EVs to Walmart and FedEx. GM's electric commercial vehicle business, BrightDrop, has signed a new deal to supply thousands of battery-powered trucks to Walmart and will supply additional units to FedEx. Walmart, which agreed to reserve orders for 5,000 BrightDrop EV600 and smaller EV410 electric vans for its delivery fleet, will receive delivery in early 2023. FedEx, which had been testing 500 of the electric vans in 10 service markets, has reserved an additional 2,000 vehicles.
A red flag for the EV revolution has emerged in the form of leftists taking over Chile. The world needs a lot more copper and lithium for those electric vehicles we are all supposed to be driving soon. So, it’s an awkward time for the dominant copper-producing nation, and No. 2 in lithium, to lurch leftward politically. Elected president Boric ran on higher taxes and tighter environmental controls for the mining industry, and vague promises of a post-resource-dependent Chile.
This is a big month for issuance and it's going to be a big test to see if people have the appetite to digest some of the issuances that are coming, says Thomas Thornton, founder of Hedge Fund Telemetry. He thinks there's going to be a big issuance happening in the treasury market now that the debt ceiling fiasco is over. Then there's the Fed who's tapering and they've been the biggest buyer of treasuries. There's going to be upward stress on yields and that will hurt equities. Source(4:13)
GameStop is entering the NFT and Crypto markets by launching a division to develop a marketplace for nonfungible tokens and establish cryptocurrency partnerships. The retailer has hired more than 20 people to run the unit, which is building an online hub for buying, selling, and trading NFTs of virtual videogame goods such as avatar outfits and weapons. GameStop also is close to signing partnerships with two crypto companies to share technology and co-invest in the development of games that use blockchain and NFT technology. Read more here.