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Is Now a Good Time to Buy a House? (April 2022)

Experts weigh in on how to make your real estate purchase worth it.



Experts weigh in on how to make your real estate purchase worth it.

It has been rough out there for first-time homebuyers.

First they have to put together a down payment of at least 3% of a home's sale price. That comes in at $11,760 of the $392,000 national average sales price of a home in America.

Once they have secured funding, they then have to lock in what rates are currently going, with the first upticks in years due to Federal Reserve actions to curb inflation. And, while interest rates in the 4-5% range are historically low, they're a bitter pill to swallow after years in 3% range.

Often stymied by low supply, finding a home they like has been difficult over the last two years, especially if they are in a metro area.

When they do find something that they want, bidding wars often ensue, and other buyers with all-cash offers are likely to win any tussle over a home's sale price are likely to win out.

That puts them right back where they started, leaving them wondering: Is it always this hard? Is now even a good time to buy a home?

The answer to that varies, depending on who you ask and what you are looking for — and how soon you may need it.


Here's What the Experts Say About Buying a House Now

Dion McNeeley, a real estate investor who got into the market after the Great Recession and has since recouped $2 million on his investments, said that even with the market's bumps, now is a smart time to buy a home (but he's not speaking as someone who intends to live in the home).

"'It’s always a good day to buy a great deal. Period. Always," he told TheStreet.

"If prices go up you gain equity. If prices go down you pay less taxes," he said. "I don’t care if my assets lose value. We care about rents. And in my life I have never seen them go down. Not even after 2008."

Other market watchers said it really depends on your situation.

Kayla Bruun, economic analyst at decision intelligence company Morning Consult, told TheStreet that data shows many people are pulling back as they wait for the market to cool.

"Morning Consult’s index of consumer sentiment sank lower in recent months, and a lot of that is driven by the declining share of consumers who say that now is a good time to make a major purchase, which would include a home," Bruun said.

But there are still plenty of people who need housing and who are ready to make the leap from renting to buying, and they likely are not deterred by a few upticks in interest rates.

"Compared to a few months ago, when borrowing costs were lower and prices were maybe even a bit below where they are now, you won’t be getting as good a deal, but that is all relative," Bruun said.

"Whether or not it’s a good time to buy a home can really depend on an individual’s situation at that time, including what their specific needs are and what are the alternatives."

How Does Inflation Affect Home Buying?

Would-be buyers also shouldn't be too spooked by the current 8.5% inflation, which has left many people wondering if they should wait to pull the trigger on such a major purchase.

"Inflation is your friend when you own appreciating assets," McNeeley said. "I gained over $600k in net worth in 2021. Just because I owned properties."

Bruun, too, said that while inflation may be high now, and the market will see dips and correction, eventually real estate will go up in value.

"Land is limited and prices do tend to rise in the long run," Bruun told TheStreet. "There [are] also opportunity cost to consider."

Are We in a Housing Bubble?

But many investors, economists, realtors and homebuyers all disagree over whether or not we are in a housing bubble.

You can read a deeper dive on that here. 

Technically, a housing bubble means that the homes on the market are overpriced, which means that a price correction is inevitable and eventually the market will go back to more affordable options.

Bruun said that's not what is happening now.

Instead, buyers are facing a major lack of supply, either of new homes or homes that aren't going onto the market.

Bruun said that Morning Consult data over the past year has shown that many more adults are trying to buy homes than are planning to sell them over the next 12 months, which leads to a kind of uber-sellers market.

"There are real factors underpinning that demand, including demographics [like] millennials starting families and wanting more space, and pandemic-related lifestyle changes [like] remote work enabling geographic flexibility," Bruun said. 

McNeeley took issue with supply being the major culprit of the overheating housing market.

"Supply is what a lot of people say but this is inaccurate. We had over six million in transactions in 2021, meaning supply was there," he told TheStreet. "Demand is the issue, with record wage inflation. People can pay more." 

He added that there are also other unprecedented economic developments that many economists and other experts might not have had the chance to study yet.

"We have the highest 'consumer confidence' we have ever seen in my life. For decades people thought you would lose your house if we weren’t allowed to work," he said "But that was proven untrue. We had a pandemic. An actual country shut down." 

"Which gave us: An eviction moratorium. Stimulus. Unemployment, extended and extra. Forbearance. With the missed payments being added to the end of the mortgage or lenders offering a 40-year mortgage," McNeeley said.

That longer lifeline for homeowners means that more people are able to stay in their homes than ever before, which has crimped how many houses are available to buy.

Should You Wait For More Supply to Buy?

Getting more inventory into the marketplace is likely one of the main things that will reset housing prices to affordable levels.

But how do you coax builders wary of supply chain delays and rising inflation into building more homes? Or tempt long-time homeowners to put their houses on the market?

Bruun said that strong demand and limited supply are pushing home prices higher, but so is a tight labor market.

"That plus bottlenecks on new construction, which is making new homes take longer to deliver and pressuring builders to ask higher prices on new homes to cover their construction costs," Bruun said.

So what can be done to get more inventory into the marketplace? Perhaps sadly for first time buyers, that will probably take higher housing prices, which will make building things worthwhile for investors and construction companies.

There are signs of that beginning, however nascent, too.

"Permits and housing starts have picked up, so that will add to inventory down the line," Bruun said. 

"Supply chain disruptions and the tight labor market are holding back the pace of completions, so easing constraints for materials and workers could help speed up deliveries and allow housing stock to expand a bit sooner."

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COVID-19 lockdowns linked to less accurate recollection of event timing

Participants in a survey study made a relatively high number of errors when asked to recollect the timing of major events that took place in 2021, providing…



Participants in a survey study made a relatively high number of errors when asked to recollect the timing of major events that took place in 2021, providing new insights into how COVID-19 lockdowns impacted perception of time. Daria Pawlak and Arash Sahraie of the University of Aberdeen, UK, present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on May 31, 2023.

Credit: Arianna Sahraie Photography, CC-BY 4.0 (

Participants in a survey study made a relatively high number of errors when asked to recollect the timing of major events that took place in 2021, providing new insights into how COVID-19 lockdowns impacted perception of time. Daria Pawlak and Arash Sahraie of the University of Aberdeen, UK, present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on May 31, 2023.

Remembering when past events occurred becomes more difficult as more time passes. In addition, people’s activities and emotions can influence their perception of the passage of time. The social isolation resulting from COVID-19 lockdowns significantly impacted people’s activities and emotions, and prior research has shown that the pandemic triggered distortions in people’s perception of time.

Inspired by that earlier research and clinical reports that patients have become less able to report accurate timelines of their medical conditions, Pawlak and Sahraie set out to deepen understanding of the pandemic’s impact on time perception.

In May 2022, the researchers conducted an online survey in which they asked 277 participants to give the year in which several notable recent events occurred, such as when Brexit was finalized or when Meghan Markle joined the British royal family. Participants also completed standard evaluations for factors related to mental health, including levels of boredom, depression, and resilience.

As expected, participants’ recollection of events that occurred further in the past was less accurate. However, their perception of the timing of events that occurred in 2021—one year prior to the survey—was just an inaccurate as for events that occurred three to four years earlier. In other words, many participants had difficulty recalling the timing of events coinciding with COVID-19 lockdowns.

Additionally, participants who made more errors in event timing were also more likely to show greater levels of depression, anxiety, and physical mental demands during the pandemic, but had less resilience. Boredom was not significantly associated with timeline accuracy.

These findings are similar to those previously reported for prison inmates. The authors suggest that accurate recollection of event timing requires “anchoring” life events, such as birthday celebrations and vacations, which were lacking during COVID-19 lockdowns.

The authors add: “Our paper reports on altered timescapes during the pandemic. In a landscape, if features are not clearly discernible, it is harder to place objects/yourself in relation to other features. Restrictions imposed during the pandemic have impoverished our timescape, affecting the perception of event timelines. We can recall that events happened, we just don’t remember when.


In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS ONE:

Citation: Pawlak DA, Sahraie A (2023) Lost time: Perception of events timeline affected by the COVID pandemic. PLoS ONE 18(5): e0278250.

Author Countries: UK

Funding: The authors received no specific funding for this work.

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Hyro secures $20M for its AI-powered, healthcare-focused conversational platform

Israel Krush and Rom Cohen first met in an AI course at Cornell Tech, where they bonded over a shared desire to apply AI voice technologies to the healthcare…



Israel Krush and Rom Cohen first met in an AI course at Cornell Tech, where they bonded over a shared desire to apply AI voice technologies to the healthcare sector. Specifically, they sought to automate the routine messages and calls that often lead to administrative burnout, like calls about scheduling, prescription refills and searching through physician directories.

Several years after graduating, Krush and Cohen productized their ideas with Hyro, which uses AI to facilitate text and voice conversations across the web, call centers and apps between healthcare organizations and their clients. Hyro today announced that it raised $20 million in a Series B round led by Liberty Mutual, Macquarie Capital and Black Opal, bringing the startup’s total raised to $35 million.

Krush says that the new cash will be put toward expanding Hyro’s go-to-market teams and R&D.

“When we searched for a domain that would benefit from transforming these technologies most, we discovered and validated that healthcare, with staffing shortages and antiquated processes, had the greatest need and pain points, and have continued to focus on this particular vertical,” Krush told TechCrunch in an email interview.

To Krush’s point, the healthcare industry faces a major staffing shortfall, exacerbated by the logistical complications that arose during the pandemic. In a recent interview with Keona Health, Halee Fischer-Wright, CEO of Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), said that MGMA’s heard that 88% of medical practices have had difficulties recruiting front-of-office staff over the last year. By another estimates, the healthcare field has lost 20% of its workforce.

Hyro doesn’t attempt to replace staffers. But it does inject automation into the equation. The platform is essentially a drop-in replacement for traditional IVR systems, handling calls and texts automatically using conversational AI.

Hyro can answer common questions and handle tasks like booking or rescheduling an appointment, providing engagement and conversion metrics on the backend as it does so.

Plenty of platforms do — or at least claim to. See RedRoute, a voice-based conversational AI startup that delivers an “Alexa-like” customer service experience over the phone. Elsewhere, there’s Omilia, which provides a conversational solution that works on all platforms (e.g. phone, web chat, social networks, SMS and more) and integrates with existing customer support systems.

But Krush claims that Hyro is differentiated. For one, he says, it offers an AI-powered search feature that scrapes up-to-date information from a customer’s website — ostensibly preventing wrong answers to questions (a notorious problem with text-generating AI). Hyro also boasts “smart routing,” which enables it to “intelligently” decide whether to complete a task automatically, send a link to self-serve via SMS or route a request to the right department.

A bot created using Hyro’s development tools. Image Credits: Hyro

“Our AI assistants have been used by tens of millions of patients, automating conversations on various channels,” Krush said. “Hyro creates a feedback loop by identifying missing knowledge gaps, basically mimicking the operations of a call center agent. It also shows within a conversation exactly how the AI assistant deduced the correct response to a patient or customer query, meaning that if incorrect answers were given, an enterprise can understand exactly which piece of content or dataset is labeled incorrectly and fix accordingly.”

Of course, no technology’s perfect, and Hyro’s likely isn’t an exception to the rule. But the startup’s sales pitch was enough to win over dozens of healthcare networks, providers and hospitals as clients, including Weill Cornell Medicine. Annual recurring revenue has doubled since Hyro went to market in 2019, Krush claims.

Hyro’s future plans entail expanding to industries adjacent to healthcare, including real estate and the public sector, as well as rounding out the platform with more customization options, business optimization recommendations and “variety” in the AI skills that Hyro supports.

“The pandemic expedited digital transformation for healthcare and made the problems we’re solving very clear and obvious (e.g. the spike in calls surrounding information, access to testing, etc.),” Krush said. “We were one of the first to offer a COVID-19 virtual assistant that deployed in under 48 hours based on trusted information from the health system and trusted resources such as the CDC and World Health Organization …. Hyro is well funded, with good growth and momentum, and we’ve always managed a responsible budget, so we’re actually looking to expand and gather more market share while competitors are slowing down.”

Hyro secures $20M for its AI-powered, healthcare-focused conversational platform by Kyle Wiggers originally published on TechCrunch

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Spread & Containment

Burger King Adds a Failed McDonald’s Comfort-Food Menu Item

Both companies have tried to make this beloved southern staple work, and Burger King is trying again with multiple new versions.



Fast-food burger chains deal in the familiar. 

They sell comfort food, meals that make their customers feel good (even if that feeling soon enough turns to regret).

When one of the big three chains -- McDonald's, Wendy's (WEN) - Get Free Report, and Burger King -- adds a new menu item, it's either something outrageous designed to get publicity or an item that builds on the comfort-food model.

DON'T MISS: Unique McDonald's Sandwich Makes Its Menu Return

That's why so many fast-food innovations arise from taking a core menu item and give it a small twist. Wendy's does this more than any other chain as it rotates in different takes on cheese fries and new burgers that add well-known flavors like pretzel buns or more bacon.

McDonald's (MCD) - Get Free Report has been experimenting with similar ideas -- specifically trying to make southern classics like sweet tea and chicken biscuits -- work. The chain has had more success with sweet tea, which has become a menu staple, than it has with making chicken biscuits a morning staple.

And while McDonald's has tried to add southern style chicken biscuits to its morning menu without sustained success, that has not stopped its rivals from taking their own shot at the regional favorite. 

Wendy's has offered its Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit since it brought back its breakfast menu in 2020. And now Restaurant Brands International's (QSR) - Get Free Report Burger King has decided to add multiple takes on a chicken biscuit to its morning menu.

Wendy's also sold a "hot" version of its Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit.

Image source: Wendy's.

Burger King Adds Multiple Chicken Biscuits  

Burger King has built its morning menu around meat. The chain sells versions of its famed Croissan'Wich with double sausage, one with bacon, ham, and sausage, and similar offerings on biscuits.

Now, Burger King has been testing adding chicken to its meaty morning lineup.

Some of the chain's locations already sell a regular Chicken Biscuit and a Smoky Maple Chicken Croissan’wich (although those items are not being sold nationwide) and now it's testing a new take on a chicken biscuit in select markets.

"The Smoky Maple Chicken Biscuit features breaded white meat chicken with a smoky maple glaze on a warm buttermilk biscuit. It will be available through Aug. 31 while supplies last," according to Restaurant Business Online.

Burger King is offering the Smoky Maple Chicken Biscuit only in the Kansas City and Orlando-Daytona Beach markets.

McDonald's Also Bets On Breakfast Comfort Food 

McDonald's first put bagels on its breakfast menu in 1999. They were removed in January 2022 when the chain eliminated all-day breakfast and slimmed down its morning menu due to the covid pandemic.

Losing the bagels wasn't just about customers getting one less bread choice for their breakfast sandwich. It also invvolved McDonald's removing steak -- a meat that was only sold on a bagel -- from its morning menu.

Now, after a slow rollout across the country, McDonald's has returned its popular breakfast bagels to menus nationwide (albeit without making an official announcement).

Fans clamored for the return on social media in April 2022, when McDonald's Tweeted "Bring back ____." Tens of thousands of fans answered the query and the Breakfast Bagels were a popular request.

The most-requested item, the Snack Wrap, has not been returned and might not despite customer interest because making them adds complexity to the chain's kitchen operations. 

That's something the company has been working against as it works to streamline delivery and digital sales.         

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