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Why the housing industry should fear Amazon

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. 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. 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. Disrupting the housing market Amazon has already dipped a toe into the real estate referral business. At Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit last month, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff noted how Amazon was likely to disrupt the real estate industry — and that it’s just a matter of time. “Eventually, yes [I’ll worry about Amazon]. “But I just read last week that they’re going to sell Christmas trees. Eventually, the entire process from searching for to closing on the purchase of a home will happen online. SoftBank recently announced a $400 million investment into San Francisco-based OpenDoor, which buys and sells homes online across 19 different markets in the U.S. It’s no surprise that one of Amazon’s next frontiers is residential real estate, especially considering a home is the costliest big-ticket item Americans will purchase in their lifetime.