Machine Learning Times
Machine Learning Times
EXCLUSIVE HIGHLIGHTS
Wise Practitioner – Predictive Analytics Interview Series: Oscar Porto and Fábio Ferraretto at DHAUZ
 In anticipation of their upcoming presentation at Predictive Analytics...
PAW Preview Video: Evan Wimpey, Director of Strategic Analytics at Elder Research
 In anticipation of his upcoming presentation at Predictive Analytics...
Podcast: Real-Time Machine Learning: Why It’s Vital and How to Do It
  Welcome to the next episode of The Machine Learning...
PAW Preview Video: Aric LaBarr, Institute for Advanced Analytics at NC State University
 In anticipation of his upcoming presentation at Predictive Analytics...
SHARE THIS:

3 weeks ago
House-Flipping Algorithms Are Coming To Your Neighborhood

 
Originally published in MIT Technology Review, April 13, 2022.

For years, Michael Maxson spent more nights in hotels than his own bed, working on speaker systems for the titans of heavy rock on global tours. When Maxson decided to settle down with his wife and their two dogs, they chose the city where stadium rock spectacles took him more often than any other: Las Vegas.

After renting for several years, in 2021 he found a home he wanted to buy in Clark County—a place within easy reach of Vegas’s headline venues yet also quiet, an airy single-­story stucco house on Dancing Avenue, which backs onto a 2,000-acre park. He dreamed of waking up each morning to look out across lakes and parkland. “It was a beautiful home,” says Maxson. “I mean, the fact you could see the mountains and the sun set and rise. Man.

But Maxson’s house hunt was unexpectedly chaotic. House prices in Las Vegas leaped up 25% that year, and the market was awash with cheap mortgages and wolfish investors.

His dream home was not owned by a person but by a tech company. Zillow, the US’s largest real estate listings site, had begun buying up homes in 2018, predicting it could create a “one-click nirvana” for purchasing real estate. It estimated returns of $20 billion a year. Zillow Offers, its “instant buying” business, followed startups like Opendoor and Offerpad, which had pioneered “iBuying,” the so-called “high-tech flipping” model, which uses data systems to price houses and investor cash to buy them before fixing them up and selling them.

In 2021, iBuyers’ purchases jumped to double prepandemic levels, accounting for tens of billions of dollars in home sales. Las Vegas was among the top 10 markets where startups concentrated their investments. In a feverish summer, Maxson had already been outmuscled on two bids by cash offers from Zillow and Opendoor. On Dancing Ave., Zillow now acted as seller, having listed the home on June 24 for $470,000, nearly $60,000 more than it had paid less than two weeks before. But Maxson wanted it and agreed to close at just under asking price.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Leave a Reply