Future 15: Knock and Pacaso CEOs discuss real estate’s newest homeownership category: co-ownership – Inman

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In the latest episode of Future 15, host and Knock CEO Sean Black sat down with Austin Allison, CEO of Pacaso. The two titans of industry examined the rise in the new category of homeownership, and how it will affect all aspects of the industry, from housing affordability to home automation.
Watch the full video for their complete insights, but here are some key takeaways from Sean and Austin’s conversation about co-ownership.
Sean: What do you think home buying and selling looks like in 10 years?
Austin: The trend that I’m closest to is this idea that we, at Pacaso, describe as, “the freedom of place”, which is this new reality that many families face: more flexibility. Flexibility to work remotely, either part-time or full-time. That’s empowering people to rethink how and where they live and work. Ten years from now, I think there will be a lot more both primary and secondary homeowners in markets that have historically been mostly second home destinations.
Sean: Do you see a future in which the second home is the home?
Austin: I do. I don’t expect that to be representative of how everybody lives, but I certainly think that there’s a cohort of people who already live nomadically. Imagine if you could buy a quarter of a home in San Francisco and a quarter of a home in three other locations and spend your time in different locations throughout the year. But I also think that you’ll see families that continue to have a primary home destination. In fact, I think that will be the norm.
Sean: I want to talk about how much of what you’re doing is digitized. How much of the experience is on your phone?
Austin: For us, technology enables the entire marketplace. There are many things that excite me a great deal about the future. One, in particular, is the smart home and home automation capabilities. Let’s say you’re walking into your [Pacaso home], and as you walk in there are digitized family photos of you and your family on the wall. The temperature on the thermostat is already set up for the temperature that you and your family prefer. It recognized you as you were walking up to the home and it already unlocked the door securely. That’s the type of experience that we can create for our owners leveraging technology.
Sean: Do you guys see a future that’s in primary home ownership being shared? How far do you see the sharing economy version of houses going?
Austin: The sharing economy will impact housing in a very positive way because, frankly, it has to. We’re in the middle of a housing affordability crisis and it’s not getting any better. There’s way more demand than supply, and then the housing affordability crisis is most pronounced in second-home destinations because you’ve got this influx of new second-home buyers that are buying up all the homes at the median price tier, making it impossible for locals to afford primary homes. Co-ownership is a really important part of the solution there because what co-ownership does is it consolidates demand away from the median tier and moves it into the luxury tier.
The other benefit of the sharing economy is to local economies and to the environment. The average second home is only used five weeks per year. Every empty second home means another home needs to be built to absorb demand, which creates a larger carbon footprint and it starves local businesses during the slower season because owners aren’t even in the home supporting the local businesses for all those months throughout the year.
Sean: Let’s talk a little bit about the industry? How, if at all, do agents play a role in your universe?
Austin: We think about agents like an extension of our team. We partner with real estate agents on all the real estate transaction related details. The thing that real estate agents are finding most interesting about our model is that it’s an additive to their core business, first and foremost. It doesn’t compete with their whole-home business. It’s icing on the cake. It’s an accelerant to their business.
Sean: So you’re allowing agents to represent clients to buy a fractional part of these homes like they would a single-family home?
Austin: Absolutely. If we can supercharge real estate agents’ business by giving them another type of product to sell, a tool that enables them to convert people who would’ve otherwise been window shoppers because they didn’t have the budget for the whole home they were dreaming of. Now with Pacaso you can convert those window shoppers into homeowners.
Watch the full episode for more.
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