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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

How blockchain technology and DeFi could help solve the housing crisis

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The prices of houses are sky-high all around the world, and homebuyers are feeling the pain. While affording a home has never been more difficult for many people, the ability to raise funds to construct new homes has never been easier, thanks to decentralized finance (DeFi). The newly launched Home Construction Collective is attempting to leverage blockchain’s coordination and fundraising potential in an effort to fund the construction of, and therefore increase the supply of, affordable homes.

On Episode 14 of The Agenda podcast, hosts Jonathan DeYoung and Ray Salmond speak with Home Construction Collective co-founders Isaac Lidsky and Erich Wasserman about the housing crisis and how blockchain technology may offer a solution.

Unpacking the housing crisis

According to Lidsky and Wasserman, the housing crisis is not truly a crisis of prices — instead, it’s a supply crisis. “We have systematically underproduced homes for decades,” Lidsky said. “Depending on what estimates you look at, we’re short between 4.5 million to 7 million homes today.” Exacerbating this problem is that more and more homes are being built specifically to be rented out rather than sold to prospective homeowners.

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The lack of affordable homes has profoundly impacted the net worth of younger generations. “Home ownership is usually the biggest investment that people make in their lifetimes,” said Wasserman. “It’s the gateway to financial access. Homeowners have a staggering 40 times the net worth of renters.”

Related: Tokenized mortgages can prevent another housing bubble crisis, says Casper exec

Lidsky added: “In their 40s, the baby boomers accounted for 21% of all wealth. In their 40s, Gen Xers, it had dropped to 2%. And for us millennials, we’re at 4.8%, with Mark Zuckerberg alone representing 2% of that 4.8%. And those are the horrendous numbers.”

Using DeFi to incentivize starter home construction

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Home Construction Collective is focused on financing the construction of “starter homes,” or homes that first-time buyers can afford, which Lidsky reported are in incredibly short supply. “The more of them we can put on the market, the more affordable they’ll become,” he posited.