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Is the “Office Economy” Worth Saving?
Office occupancy rates are still hovering at just 50% of pre-pandemic levels.¹ When it comes to getting employees back into the office, employers have thus far been locked in a stalemate. While the “return to office” fight rages on, key stakeholders in the traditional “office economy” are struggling. Think: organizations like daycares, public transportation, restaurants in city centers, and toll roads. To gauge public opinion, the WSJ reached out to hundreds of remote workers to get their take on why they won’t return to the office. The answers were fairly consistent – working from home offers greater flexibility and saves money with minimal drop-off in productivity. The US now has a difficult question to answer: is the traditional office economy really worth saving? Or is there a better path forward for the future of work?
These Two Lawsuits Could Change How You Buy a Home
When it comes time to sell their home, sellers have gotten used to ponying up 3% for a real estate agent’s commission. In most cases, they’ll even dish out 3% to pay the buyer’s agent as well. While this adds up to quite a chunk of change, it’s just the way that the industry has always worked. But, that could be about to change. Two ongoing lawsuits are looking to change how the agents get paid in real estate transactions.¹ If these lawsuits are successful, the buyer would be required to pay their agency directly. This small change would dramatically lower agent commissions and could save homebuyers and sellers as much as $30 billion per year.
Homebuyers Are Weary of Fixer-Uppers
Today’s home sellers are receiving an average of three offers to buy their home – down from six just a year ago, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.¹ Insiders believe that this drop in homebuying activity has to do with buyers not wanting to buy fixer-uppers. Over the past year or so, the federal funds rate has skyrocketed which has led to significantly higher mortgage rates. At the same time, the cost of taking out a construction loan has also increased. With the cost of renovation increasing all around, today’s home buyers are less willing to take on the additional expenses associated with buying a fixer-upper.
Millennials and Gen Z Prefer Functional Fashion
From April 2022-2023, sales of handbags were down 2% while sales for fanny, waist, and chest packs soared 56%.¹ These stats show that younger generations have a clear preference for functional fashion – at least when it comes to handbags. The most popular bags are Uniqlo’s $20 shoulder bag and Lululemon’s $50 belt bag, both of which have taken turns going viral on TikTok. This trend likely got started during the pandemic, when WFH mandates ushered in a culture of relaxed athleisure outfits over starched suits. These days, younger shoppers would rather have a bag that they can easily take to the beach, a music festival, or a night out – even if it’s not from a high-end designer.
Typeface Raises $100m For Enterprise Gen AI
Typeface, a generative AI tool geared for enterprise teams, just raised $100 million in a Series B funding round led by Salesforce Ventures. The startup – which was founded by the former CTO at Adobe – allows companies to leverage generative AI for things like marketing campaigns, AI-generated product images, social media captions, emails, and more. What makes Typeface different is that it creates a brand new AI algorithm for each client. This provides two things: brand customization and privacy. Companies can train their own algorithm to speak using a specific brand voice while also ensuring that all digital assets are protected.