Gen Z’s homeownership hack

March 22nd, 2023

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Happy Wednesday, Future Party people. Lots happening in the natural world this week — this past Monday marked the spring equinox, while last night marked the new moon. As the weather warms and the days get longer, we hope you’re getting out and enjoying the changing of the seasons. We certainly are! 

In other news… Google comes for AI, Gen Z comes for the housing market, and White Claw comes for vodka.

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AI

Hark, the Bard! // Illustration by Kate Walker

Google searches for AI glory with Bard

The Future. Debuting Bard, Google is showing that it’s also a force to be reckoned with in the AI space. Though Google is hoping to roll it out slowly and “responsibly” (Google execs stress they know the issues), it’s clear that the sudden success of ChatGPT is forcing Google’s hand. So, the tech giant may need to revolutionize its Search business and its entire business model to keep up… if Bard doesn’t destroy Google first.

Competitive chatAfter issuing a “code red” in December as ChatGPT took the world by storm, Google is releasing its own AI chatbot.

  • “Bard” is only accessible via a standalone website for now and is still limited to a small batch of users in the US and the UK. 

  • It’ll expand to more users and regions throughout the year.

Bard also annotates its sources so users can peep where it culls its answers from. And since Bard pulls from Google’s indexed sites, the information is allegedly as up-to-date as can be.

Save the SearchBard is meant to be a companion to Search, not a replacement for it, especially since the chatbot is just as capable of “hallucinating” as ChatGPT is. Google is not willing to destroy its credibility for the hot new thing… or sacrifice its crucial ad business that is built into the Search framework.

That may be why Google is so reticent on rolling out an AI chatbot on a large scale, despite working on the underlying tech since 2015. It needs to make money on it, which is why Google announced it’s pulling a Microsoft and embedding the AI into its productivity apps like Docs, Sheets, and Drive.

HOUSING

Managing rentals // Illustration by Kate Walker

Gen Z is trying to own homes by any means necessary

The Future. Enterprising Gen Zers are buying homes in cheap areas sight unseen in order to build wealth as owners and get cash flow as renters. While a savvy business move, it also puts a spotlight on the wealth disparity already present in the younger generation. Those scooped-up homes — sometimes a portfolio-worth of properties per person — may be heating up the housing market and displacing the Gen Zers who are just trying to buy one home in the area they live in.

Hacking ownershipGen Z is looking at homeownership as a day job.

  • Gen Zers who have some extra money lying around are purchasing homes in cheap areas like the South and the Sun Belt — without ever stepping foot in them.

  • Thanks to new platforms like Mynd and Roofstock, the homes are usually then put up for rental to generate passive income and reap the tax benefits.

The home-buying makes sense. RocketMortgage found in 2021 that 45% of Gen-Z respondents wanted to buy a home within the next five years.

Fork in the generationBut how many are actually doing it? LendingTree found among its platform user base that “Gen Zers accounted for an average of 10% of homebuyers in the 50 largest US metros in 2021, up from nearly 6% in 2020.” That’s a lot of young adults sticking to their word.

But there’s an issue. Like with every other generation, only those that can afford the down payment can actually afford a home. And for many Gen Zers, that money comes from a mix of a good job in a high-net-worth area and parental help. It’s no wonder that Freddie Mac found that 34% of Gen Zers don’t think they’ll ever be able to afford a home.

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BUSINESS

White Claw sinks into vodka

The Future. White Claw is getting into vodka with an affordable price and a variety of flavors. The hope is to crack into the $7.2 billion market and unseat the reigning champ, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, which last year represented 25% of all vodka sales in US retail stores. With White Claw’s brand loyalty, they might be able to swoop in and do just that.

Color profileWhite Claw wants to ride its wave of goodwill into the vodka market — the most popular spirit among college kids.

  • White Claw Premium Vodka will be available in bottles, while 12-ounce vodka and soda cocktails will be available in 12-ounce cans.

  • The vodka will be available in both a straight version and flavored versions, such as mango, pineapple, and black cherry.

The vodka will be priced comparatively to a bottle of Tito’s (about $20), which is the best-selling vodka brand in the US. 

Another roundAnthony von Mandl, the owner of White Claw's parent company Mark Anthony Group, named two forces that made him consider vodka: 

  • Hard seltzer sales have started to slip after a massive boom over the past several years. 

  • The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau updated the rules that had previously required vodka to be “without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color.” 

With the White Claw brand still being the market leader in hard seltzers, the time was right for a pivot.

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Guinness World Records launches a TV channel

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Today's email was brought to you by David Vendrell.Edited by Nick Comney. Publishing by Sara Kitnick.

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