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12 Startups Utilizing Blockchain Technology in New Ways

However, the technology behind these tokens, blockchain, has far more applications than just cryptocurrencies. Through a network of smart contracts that operate utilizing decentralized information on a ledger, blockchain is able to provide unmatched security and speed for data transfers. This means that blockchain technology has an application in nearly every industry where value is exchanged. A technological descendant of Ethereum, IOST is a blockchain with the purpose of serving as infrastructure for developers to create decentralized applications. ShipChain ShipChain is a freight and logistics platform built on blockchain. Nano Vision Nano Vision is empowering global citizens to step up and lend their efforts to furthering disease-prevention research and development. Equipped with a working product, Inveniam uses Decentralized Ledger Technology (DLT) and "regulated" contracts and tokens to transform structuring, clearing, custody and settlement of fixed-income instruments. It focuses on creating a decentralized social video ecosystem with a full economic cycle and rewards for creating, curating, viewing and sharing videos. Patron Patron is a global influencer marketing platform built with blockchain technology. Photochain Photochain is a decentralized stock photography platform built on the blockchain.

FHA significantly expands LIHTC financing program for multifamily properties

The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced this week that the Federal Housing Administration is expanding its low-income housing tax credit financing program for multifamily properties. According to HUD, the move is a “significant expansion” of an FHA pilot program that streamlines mortgage insurance applications for affordable housing developments that have equity through the LIHTC program. Back in 2012, the FHA rolled out a LIHTC pilot program that dealt specifically with applications to refinance mortgage debt under FHA's Section 223(f) program. Under the new expansion, FHA will begin to support “new construction and substantial rehabilitation” under its Section 221(d)(4) and Section 220 programs. “Today, we take another important step to stimulate capital investment in affordable housing at a time when we need affordable housing more than ever,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement. “We’re also applying the lessons we’ve learned from our earlier pilot program to streamline our processing for new construction and substantial rehabilitation developments, so we can get these deals done quicker and more efficiently.” According to HUD, the FHA’s expanded pilot program will “ensure faster and more efficient processing for low-risk, LIHTC transactions by eliminating redundant reviews.” Per details provided by HUD, the average processing time for LIHTC deals is currently 90 days. “A shorter application review period allows borrowers to lock in better interest rates sooner, an important capability in a rising interest rate environment,” HUD stated in a release. The move has the potential to have significant impact on the multifamily financing space. According to HUD, FHA multifamily transactions that include LIHTC financing make up approximately 30% of the FHA’s total multifamily volume. And the FHA expects that by including its Section 221(d) and Section 220 programs with the existing LIHTC program, the FHA will “support more production and preservation of critically needed affordable multifamily housing.” For much more on the FHA LIHTC expansion, click here.

Homebuilder confidence stabilizes, hinting at solid spring home buying season

Despite affordability and labor concerns, homebuilder confidence held steady at 62 points in March, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. “Builders report the market is stabilizing following the slowdown at the end of 2018 and they anticipate a solid spring home buying season," NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde said. In March, the index measuring current sales conditions rose from 66 to 68 points, while buyer traffic declined from 48 to 44. Lastly, expectations over the next six months rose from 68 to 71 points. The three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores show the Northeast rose five points from 43 to 48 points, the South also moved forward from 63 to 66, the West inched forward from 67 to 69 points and the Midwest slid one point backwards from 52 to 51 points. "In a healthy sign for the housing market, more builders are saying that lower price points are selling well, and this was reflected in the government's new home sales report released last week," NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said. "Increased inventory of affordably priced homes – in markets where government policies support such construction – will enable more entry-level buyers to enter the market." “The skilled worker shortage, lack of buildable lots and stiff zoning restrictions in many major metro markets are among the challenges builders face as they strive to construct homes that can sell at affordable price points,” the report states. NOTE: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder opinions of single-family home sales and expectations, asking for a rating of good, fair or poor. The scores are used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index with a rating of 50 or over indicating positive sentiment.

These are the best housing markets for first-time buyers

Purchasing the perfect home can be difficult, especially for those navigating the housing market for the first time. Luckily, a new report by Zillow reveals the country’s top housing markets for first-time buyers, measuring factors like home value, home appreciation, wealth and inventory. “Becoming a homeowner for the first time is easier in some markets than others – and the difference is not strictly about home prices, although they have a big impact on how long it takes to save a down payment,” Zillow writes. “Strong inventory and lower competition for listings also make a difference – as does the market outlook.” The video below highlights the top 5 most affordable rental markets, according to Zillow’s research: 5. Orlando, Florida. In this metro, the median home value is $237,100 and 21.3% of home listings have experienced a price cut. In this metro, the median home value is $217,500 and 15.9% of home listings have experienced a price cut. In this metro, the median home value is $264,900 and 20.9% of home listings have experienced a price cut. In this metro, the median home value is $277,900 and 23.9% of home listings have experienced a price cut. In this metro, the median home value is $213,600 and 24.8% of home listings have experienced a price cut.

Boost Your Facebook Post Engagement Using These 10 Tricks

The biggest question for a Facebook marketer is this: how do you get people engaged with your post? Thanks to an advertising method that Facebook calls Page Post Engagement adverts, you can keep up with all your followers and reach new ones at the same time. Ask Your Questions So you want to know more about your target audience? Enhance the Visual Appeal of Your Page A single relevant image can boost the engagement on your page more than a brilliant textual status update. B2C marketers place even greater importance on visual marketing when compared to B2B marketers. What are they doing differently to engage the Facebook audience? Ad links to important Facebook status updates in the updates you post on other social media. If you’re not getting them engaged enough, improve the quality before you start working on the quantity of posts. Try posting at a different time every day to see when you can get people engaged. But with a robust strategy and thoughtful audience analysis, it's possible to master your Facebook presence and keep the audience engaged.

Four Easy Ways To Grow Your Business With LinkedIn

Target specific, professional audiences and decision makers. LinkedIn’s advertising capabilities allow you to use filters like industry, company size and job title to target specific types of individuals -- ideally, the individuals most likely to engage with your brand, service, product or message. LinkedIn recommends targeting audiences of at least 50,000 people for sponsored content and text ads, and at least 15,000 for sponsored InMail. With this, you can promote your articles, e-books and other forms of digital content to LinkedIn users directly. To get the most traction from you sponsored content, you should: • Use the targeting features, such as skills and job titles, to show your content to the types of professionals you want to reach, rather than a general audience. These ads allow you to increase the visibility of your company’s offers, which can (ultimately) lead to more business. This is a win for marketers since lead data is likely accurate and high quality, and it is a win for users because now they don’t have to spend the time filling out all the fields in a contact form. I’ve found LinkedIn to be an ideal place to source new employees for two reasons. The first reason is you’re able to reach the exact types of professionals you need by using the targeting options mentioned earlier, including job title, experience level and skill set. It’s an ever-growing network that’s helping all types of businesses win in their industries.

5 Ways Blockchain Technology Will Change the Way We Do Business

The growing consensus among business leaders and entrepreneurs: The future of blockchain technology will be about a lot more than Bitcoin. Blockchain tech will impact every major area of business from accounting to operations, and there's evidence the revolution has begun. Here are five ways blockchain technology is disrupting the way we do business, with sometimes sweeping changes. Accounting is the textbook case study for a business field that stands to benefit from blockchain technology. Blockchain tech can more effectively manage all of the above. Advertising and marketing. Information technology and cybersecurity. Management and operations. The system allows professionals to take part in a new economy for photography, secure payment for licensing their work immediately when sold and offer their work on a secure blockchain platform. Blockchain technology is changing how companies do business in other staid industries, too.

Generate Leads With Your Facebook Cover Photo

The Cover Photo Design Your cover photo, just like any other photo you post on Facebook, is clickable. This means users can click on the photo to expand it and view the complete image. ‘Click Here’ Sign There are two different ways to get fans to click on your cover photo. After designing your cover photo, add a “click here” sign to the image. The second way to let fans know to click your image to read the image’s description is to add a short CTA to the bottom of the image. Once a fan clicks on the image (on their desktop), the complete photo is shown and fans can see the CTA on the bottom requesting they click on the link to your landing page in your image’s description. This automatic feature is a great way to inform fans that you’ve changed your cover photo. While you’re busy creating the best cover photo image to drive traffic to your landing pages, let Homes.com’s Social Fuel experts handle all your Facebook advertising needs. Patty McNease is director of Marketing for Homes.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

How Lego uses Instagram to inspire fans of all ages

Social media continues to be an intrinsic part of Lego's marketing strategy, with visual content a key way the brand drives engagement and fosters a sense of community online. With kids and youngsters being a core part of its target audience, Lego also uses Instagram to focus on ideas for education and play. The account typically makes use of video in this instance, using Lego for learning. Promoting Lego Life With an audience of 2.4 million, last year Lego decided to replicate its success on Instagram with the launch of a new visual app – this time specifically designed for young users. According to reports, Lego Life has proven to be a success, with the brand finding a distinct correlation between the number of times kids return to Lego Life and an increase in the sessions of playing with Lego. Interactive ads Alongside regular brand content, Lego has also entered Instagram’s advertising arena, seeing success with its paid-for campaigns. One in particular, created to promote its new ‘Boost’ playset, used the platform’s Canvas ads in Stories. This is a key component of any successful advertisement, but even more so on Instagram, where users are likely to be particularly wary of branded and sponsored content. Its focus on user generated content is key, as is posting content that encourages action or communication. With a highly immersive, quality campaign, it shows that Instagram advertising can actually increase brand sentiment and even have a real impact on sales.

Homelessness accelerates in expensive rental markets

As more and more Americans become rent burdened, the homeless rates in the nation’s most unaffordable markets continue to grow, according to the latest data from Zillow. According to the company, a renter earning the median U.S. income of $61,240 and renting the median-priced apartment of $1,442 is expected to spend about 28% of their income on rent, increasing from the historical norm of 26%. (Image courtesy of Zillow, click to enlarge) Notably, when the rent burden increases by 2 percentage points, Zillow points out that about 1,500 more people are driven to homelessness. Zillow gathered this data in collaboration with researchers at the University of New Hampshire, Boston University School of Social Work and the University of Pennsylvania. The data reveals that the effects of a larger rent burden are “more extreme” in markets where renters are already spending more than 32% of their income. Zillow Director of Economic Research and Outreach Skylar Olsen said although the nation’s homelessness rate has fallen, some communities still grapple with affordability. In these areas, the median market rate rent consumes 62.9% of the area's median household income. Notably, this cluster is home to 15.1% of the total U.S. population but hosts a whopping 47.3% of the nation's homeless population. “But there are similarities that can be identified, even among communities of wildly varying sizes and locations, and learnings to be shared." You can read more about the report here.

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Can rent control save California’s struggling renters?

Affordability continues to haunt homeowners and renters nationwide, especially Californians navigating one of the nation’s most unaffordable markets. The proposition, Prop. The Costa Hawkins Act prohibits rent control on the majority of housing built after the 1970s, preventing local cities from expanding rent control. It also allows for units to transition to free-market rates once rent-controlled tenants move, according to the article. Although Prop. She's worried that if Prop 10 passes, there could be a patchwork of cities with different rent control laws and limits, making "it very hard for developers to get things done efficiently," she says. "It just adds to the cost of development." Bluhm says even just a little uncertainty threatens funding for a project because developers need to know how much rent they're going to bring in to cover their costs and ensure they don't go underwater. Private development firms like hers, she says, are on the front line of fixing the housing crisis because federal housing subsidies for the poor have steadily declined since the 1980s. Affordability seems to be negatively affecting the housing industry as a whole and although there might not be an immediate solution but come November, Californians will have the opportunity to bring its state some relief.