With the arrival of Bitcoin in 2009 and subsequent blockchain currencies, conversations about crypto real estate immediately followed, albeit in muffled whispers.
Fast forward to today and stories of seven-figure crypto real estate deals are rocking the industry. As with any burgeoning technology, especially a promising revolutionary change, there are believers and skeptics.
What cannot be debated, however, is whether or not anyone with a vested interest in the real estate market should keep a close eye on crypto real estate events. As Scottish author George MacDonald once said, “The best preparation for the future is the present well seen.
As crypto real estate sales gain traction in Manhattan and Miami, other global and luxury markets are testing the waters. In the Bahamas, what was once just a cryptocurrency is now quietly changing the landscape of how real estate purchases are made, says MAISON Bahamas Founder and CEO Ryan Knowles. “When offers started popping up in places like Florida and New York, a lot of interest started growing here. Now you have a few different companies facilitating crypto transactions in our marketplace and some developers are accepting crypto for home purchases.
Although there are more hurdles to overcome, Knowles believes real estate transactions will be easier than ever once digital currency becomes an established means of payment. “People used to only take cash, then it changed to credit cards, then to Apple Pay, and all these different payment evolutions made for an easier transaction. Now with crypto it could [potentially] getting to the point where you can buy a house with the click of a button like ordering a coffee.
In the meantime, Knowles says the immediate impact of crypto on the market can be seen in the whole new pool of buyers that has been introduced to the Bahamian market through the adaptation of financial executives. “These buyers who have accumulated their wealth through cryptocurrency are not just entering the market but becoming big players, and there has been incredible growth,” observes the luxury home specialist.
In Los Angeles, Paul Salazar of Beverly Hills-based Hilton & Hyland is seeing a similar wave of new funds hitting the market. “Crypto has made a lot of people rich, and it’s added a whole extra layer of wealthy buyers looking to cash out their winnings and buy a mansion.”
Like the Bahamas, Los Angeles is in the preliminary stages of structuring crypto real estate, but no properties have yet been traded entirely using digital currency. Salazar believes that this reluctance to accept crypto as a form of payment largely stems from sellers’ fears of the currency’s volatility. Although the benefits – speed, ease, and security – may lead to more sales being made with digital currency in the future, the reluctance will continue until the crypto stabilizes.
As a top producer in the ultra-luxury market in Los Angeles, Salazar has seen firsthand how much recent drops in cryptocurrency values have impacted sales. “Over the past few months we have seen crypto drop significantly resulting in many escrow cancellations. lose on the house, and sellers in this market know that.At the end of the day, people always want money.
Entrepreneur, investor, and author Mike Shapiro thinks there’s great value in moving into digital real estate, but sees the lack of stability in crypto investments as too big a risk to overlook. “Blockchain technology could very well be the future of real estate, for obvious reasons: it works. But these cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, will have no value until they are backed by something,” Shapiro says. “Until then, he has no value in real estate. There is no stability there.
Although the volatility in crypto has caused ripples in the investment landscape, the fluctuations are unlikely to impact real estate, where housing shortages continue to drive the sellers’ market. On the contrary, Shapiro believes that betting on real estate for the long term, especially in high-demand markets, will continue to be a stable investment.
“Real estate acts like stocks; it acts like stock. If you invest in good teams, a good brand image or, in the case of real estate, a good product, that’s money in the bank. Areas like Beverly Hills or East Manhattan or Aspen are like Apple’s stock; they won’t hurt as much during downtime.”
MORE FORBES GLOBAL PROPERTIES
EQTY, Hilton & Hyland and HOME The Bahamas are exclusive members of Forbes Global Propertiesa consumer marketplace and member network of elite brokerages selling the world’s most luxurious homes.