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.

Behind the scenes: Say you want to purchase a $1 million home. ZeroDown's real estate fund will buy it, and agree to sell it back to you for $1.3 million in 5 years' time. You pay $6,700 a month, which is an 8% rental yield. You also pay $10,000 up-front.

  • After 5 years, you will have paid $402,000. ZeroDown will then pay you $90,000 in cash if you opt not to buy, or $182,000 towards a downpayment at a purchase price of $1.3 million, which is $300,000 more than the real estate fund paid initially.
  • Should ZeroDown fail, its co-founder and CEO Abhijeet Dwivedi assures Axios that its real estate fund will live on and that customer contracts will honored.

By the numbers: ZeroDown has raised $30 million in venture capital.

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Supreme Court won't block Rhode Island's eased absentee voting rules

Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The Supreme Court said Thursday that it will not block Rhode Island's move to ease its requirements for absentee voting during November's election.

Why it matters: The decision is a loss for Republicans, who had requested an emergency order as the state is expected to begin mailing out its ballots.

Breaking down Uber and Lyft's threat to suspend services in California

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Uber and Lyft are ratcheting up the fight with California’s state government over the classification of drivers with a move that would deprive Californians of their ride-hailing services (and halt driver income).

Driving the news: On Wednesday, both companies said that if a court doesn’t overturn or further pause a new ruling forcing them to reclassify California drivers as employees, they’ll suspend their services in the state until November’s election, when voters could potentially exempt them by passing a ballot measure.

Trump announces normalization of ties between Israel and UAE

Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu, Trump and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto; Samuel Corum; Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced a "historic" deal Thursday which will see Israel and the UAE open full diplomatic relations and Israel suspend its annexation plans in the West Bank.

Why it matters: This is a major breakthrough for Israel, which lacks diplomatic recognition in many Middle Eastern countries but has been steadily improving relations in the Gulf, largely due to mutual antipathy toward Iran.