Silicon Valley

Dispatches from Silicon Valley's real estate market

San Francisco rowhouses with dollar signs floating above them
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Bay Area real estate has become so expensive that even engineers making six figures struggle to buy a home. Naturally, a cottage industry of startups has cropped up to offer solutions to the, er, cottage problem.

Driving the news: ZeroDown, the latest in this category, says it's helping its customers compete against even richer homebuyers. It makes an all-cash offer on their behalf and then allows them to build up a down payment for up to five years after that. Of course, the price of the home is steadily increasing the whole time.

Unicorns are real, and they're stampeding

Unicorn stampeding ahead.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

They were called "unicorns" for a reason: No one really knew whether Silicon Valley's fabled billion-dollar valuations were real, or whether they were a mixture of delusion and financial engineering that would evaporate upon contact with harsh public-market realities.

Flashback: An influential paper in 2017 declared that, properly valued, most so-called unicorns were actually worth less than $1 billion. The paper downgraded Zoom's valuation to $500 million from $1 billion. Other unicorns imploded either before they went public (Theranos) or afterwards.