Real (Estate) Tech: The News for March

Welcome back to Real (Estate) Tech, where we report on real estate, technology, and the great space in between. Enjoy!

1. The New iPad went on sale this morning.

A faster processor, a Retina display screen (curious about what that means? Check it out under a microscope here), and an integrated 5-megapixel camera had people lining up outside Apple Stores in San Francisco and New York this morning. Meanwhile, recent news of a new Windows app for the iPad has us wondering just how long it will be until tablets are must-haves for every office.

2. The NAA knows what students want in their housing (and it’s not kegerators).

The National Apartment Association just finished up a huge study on student housing needs, and they’ve released the full results here. Among the results: 38% of students (and 35% of parents) find out about housing from their peers; private bedrooms are the most sought-after amenity; and affordable rental rates were the top determining factor when choosing where to live. In fact, price rated far above proximity to campus! If you love numbers, you may want to check out the raw data–but don’t say we didn’t warn you!

3. The “Renters by Choice” movement isn’t new–it’s just making a comeback.

Did you know that between 1900 and 1940, more than half of all Americans rented their homes? These days, that lifestyle is back in a big way. Cindy Harvey, an architect at a community planning firm in Denver, explains: “These are people who have disposable income, and they could qualify for a mortgage. But they want to be able to move around and they don’t want the chores that come along with homeownership.” Check out the Chicago Tribune article for the complete interview.

4. Zipcar may have a competitor, and it’s a…scooter-share service?

Sure, it took a little time to get used to the idea of Zipcar for those of us who grew up with Hertz and Budget–but about ten years after its inception, the company’s very name is synonymous with car-sharing. Now, a company hopes to do the same thing with scooter-sharing. Scoot Networks has just introduced a fleet of all-electric, pay-as-you-go scooters in San Francisco (where, we can tell you, cabs are nearly impossible to get). The fleet is small for now, but the company intends to expand quickly–and with iPhone docks in the scooter dashboards, this is bound to appeal to a certain set.

That’s all for this time. Have you gotten your hands on a new iPad or rented a Scoot Networks scooter? Do you rent to college students or professional renters-by-choice? Tell us all about it in the comments…and see you next time!