The cryptocurrency craze of 2021 produced a lot of headlines about buying and selling houses in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin believers see cryptocurrency as the future of money. As for the present, however, the us. The dominant position of the dollar in the real estate market is clear: millions of u.s. houses will change hands this year, and almost all transactions will be denominated in old dollars.
But now that bitcoin, ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies have made their way into the public consciousness, momentum is building to make virtual money a legitimate means of home exchange. In an attention-grabbing 2020 deal, a Miami penthouse sold for $22.5 million, paid for in bitcoin, making it the largest crypto real estate transaction in history. In another example, a luxury apartment in Manhattan went on the market for $29 million, and the owners only wanted bitcoin as payment. In 2022, a mansion in Austin, Texas was sold for $18.5 million in cryptocurrency. (The salesman? Music executive Scooter Braun, famous for his business dealings with Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, and other pop superstars.)
those transactions featured wealthy buyers and exaggerated properties. But what about sales of Florida condos or suburban homes in the mid-market? Several companies are racing to create a role for crypto and blockchain in real estate, but it will likely be years before mainstream buyers use crypto instead of dollars.
Reading: Buy house with bitcoin
a crypto real estate case study
When real estate investor and real estate broker Gabrielle Channell saw a condo in Tampa, Florida come on the market in early 2022, she was immediately interested. Homes are in short supply everywhere, and Channell hoped to purchase a unit in the development. But when she learned that the condo would be auctioned off as a non-fungible token, or NFT, and that the transaction would be denominated in USDC cryptocurrency, a so-called stablecoin pegged to the US. uu. dollar, I was confused. “I said, ‘how the hell are we going to do that?'” recalls Channell.
After a crash course in cryptocurrencies, digital wallets, and blockchain technology, Channell and her husband moved more than $200,000 from the U.S. uu. dollars in usdc. in March they paid $215,000 for the unit. propy, the blockchain company that arranged the transaction, calls it the first us. sale of physical real estate as nft.
channell praises the transparency of the nft transaction. As a Florida-based real estate agent, she’s familiar with the secret dance that accompanies traditional bidding wars. But in keeping with the proof-of-work spirit of the blockchain, offers and counter-offers for the Tampa condo were presented before his eyes. “You can see how much other people are bidding and who’s bidding, so it’s much more transparent,” Channell says.
Consumers are not happy with the current process. it’s opaque, it requires many, many documents, it’s not secure, and it’s very stressful for the consumer.
— natalia karayanevafounder and executive director of propy
The blockchain technology underlying cryptocurrency has the potential to revolutionize the home buying process, says Natalia Karayaneva, founder and CEO of propy.
See also: What Backs Bitcoin? – Decrypt
“Consumers are not happy with the current process,” he says. “It’s opaque, it requires many, many documents, it’s not secure, and it’s very stressful for the consumer.”
propy now also markets some other properties for sale as nfts.
crypto mortgages make their debut
In 2021, the enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies reached a high point. bitcoin briefly topped $60,000. In response, savvy crypto financiers began looking for ways to cater to mortgage borrowers with sizeable holdings of virtual money.
milo, a mortgage company, filed an early offering that heralded a new type of mortgage for true believers in bitcoin: home buyers would no longer have to sell their bitcoin to buy a home. selling bitcoin to buy property means incurring a capital gains tax bill and forgoing any future bitcoin appreciation.
instead, milo said, borrowers could keep their bitcoins and pledge them as collateral for a mortgage. milo requires borrowers to hold an amount equal to the mortgage balance in bitcoin, so borrowing $1 million means pledging $1 million in bitcoin. As of June 2022, milo advertises mortgage rates of 5.95% to 6.95% on its crypto mortgages, and has expanded the list of acceptable collateral to include ethereum.
Other niche lenders have followed suit. companies such as abra, xbto, usdc.homes, ledn and figure technologies have announced crypto mortgages.
Details vary from lender to lender, but crypto mortgages may have high minimum balances and geographic restrictions. xbto, for example, said in the spring of 2022 that its bitcoin-backed mortgages were available only in amounts of $1 million or more and only in Florida, though it is working to expand its geographic availability to all 50 states.
However, this type of loan has an obvious disadvantage: if the value of a borrower’s cryptocurrencies falls below the loan amount, the borrower has to put up additional collateral.
pros and cons of buying real estate with cryptocurrencies
Before we consider the pros and cons, we must first acknowledge that hardly anyone in real estate deals in cryptocurrencies at the moment. Few home buyers hold substantial sums of cryptocurrency, and most lenders, real estate companies, and other industry players do not accept it as payment. but for those situations where it’s an option, here are a few things to weigh.
Because cryptocurrency is digital and reliant on the blockchain, it could revolutionize the way real estate transactions are recorded. In theory at least, a crypto transaction should be able to replace the mountain of paperwork that most real estate closings usually involve.
tokenization of home purchases
Using the blockchain means it is possible for properties to be traded online in the same way as cryptocurrency tokens, and virtual property can also be traded in the metaverse. however, all of these practices are still in their infancy and it is unclear if blockchain will catch on in this way.
If blockchain backers have their way, its application in real estate could eventually mean fewer middlemen in your transaction. If that ever comes true, you may pay less in fees and see a more efficient closing process. But that future is still a long way off, so don’t expect to avoid agents, attorneys, and closing costs, even on a bitcoin transaction, any time soon.
Because cryptocurrency is digital, it is susceptible to hacking. Hackers have been known to disrupt areas of the blockchain, which could lead to insecure real estate transactions or even the loss of the currency itself.
Real estate transactions today take time and a lot of paperwork, which is largely to make them less susceptible to fraud. A more streamlined process may sound great to buyers and sellers, but if deals close faster with fewer parties involved, it’s easier for things to go wrong.
As with most investments, the value of cryptocurrencies is constantly changing and has been particularly volatile throughout its history. For example, bitcoin values fell 25 percent over a weekend in December 2021. Through early June 2022, bitcoin was down more than 50 percent from its 2021 highs. Similarly, properties traded at through blockchain may not have the same type of protection that traditional real estate transactions have. Without a strong regulatory framework, these deals will remain risky.
Using cryptocurrencies to buy a home is a tempting idea, and blockchain-based transactions hold promise for the future. various companies are racing to create a role for cryptocurrency and blockchain in real estate. While it’s technically possible to buy a house with cryptocurrency, for now, most real estate transactions are still done the old-fashioned way.