Why the housing industry should fear Amazon

Why the housing industry should fear Amazon

For an e-commerce giant, Amazon has sprawling roots in the commercial real estate, with its massive warehouses, Whole Foods footprint and splashy cashierless and 4-Star stores.

Now, Amazon (AMZN) is making its foray into residential real estate. Last week, the Alexa Fund, which invests in companies harnessing voice technology, participated in a $6.7 million round of funding to back Plant Prefab, a Southern California-based smart home builder.

There’s an obvious synergy between the future of home building and Amazon’s vision for the world. The behemoth just announced a whole suite of new Alexa-enabled devices, ranging from a microwave to smart plugs. And the Alexa Fund acquired video home security device Ring for $1 billion earlier this year. Given Amazon has 62% of the voice assistant market and most of Alexa usage happens inside the home — whether cooking, listening to music or the news, the e-commerce giant is looking to get involved in the first steps of real estate development.

Home builders are slowly keying into the need to innovate the processes and ways in which the next generation of home buyers want to live. The country’s largest home builder Lennar (LEN) announced in March that all new homes will include Alexa-enabled lights, smart locks, doorbells and thermostats.  See more...

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