For the uninitiated, digital real estate may sound like an expensive oxymoron. How can physical land exist within a digital realm? And why are people willing to pay so much for it? It may help to think of laying claim to digital real estate in the same way you'd think of claiming a website domain. Once you own that specific website address, nobody else can take it. And while there are an infinite number of website domains to create, some are clearly more valuable than others.
It may also help to see real visuals and hear from people who either already own or want to own real estate in the metaverse, which is exactly what our team at Cinch Home Services has provided. After working with graphic designers and 1,000 people across the country, we now have an in-depth look into exactly what people want from their metaverse real estate investments. We analyze how much they're spending, which home features they want and how much certain genders and generations are warming up to the concept. Keep reading to uncover it all.
Visualizing U.S. cities in the metaverse
Before talking to survey respondents, we tasked talented graphic designers with creating a visual representation of what modern U.S. cities might look like as they enter their digital developments. Below you'll find these representations for New York City, Miami and Seattle.
In 2021, Seoul, Korea, became the first major city to announce its plans to develop itself within the metaverse. The capital has invested about $2.8 billion already and intends to create a digital version of its city that's "a global leader, a safe city and a future emotional city," according to its mayor, Oh Se-hoon. Digital residents are able to put on VR goggles and even have chats with government officials.
Domestically, major U.S. cities are warming to the idea of recreating themselves in the metaverse as well. Santa Monica, California, was the first city to do so and created a more gamified version of the real-life experience. Residents can collect tokens in real life that they can then bring into the digital version of the city.
Interestingly, as Miami and New York City (the dream cities of many) compete to become crypto capitals of the U.S., neither has fully established itself in the metaverse, which predicates upon much of the same technology as cryptocurrency. Our team of graphic designers, however, created visual representations of what such online cities, as well as Seattle, may look like in the very near future.
Thoughts on metaverse real estate in the U.S.
Our study next turned the spotlight toward U.S. residents, some of whom already owned digital real estate. We asked about their level of interest in owning virtual real estate and compared their responses by gender and generation.
People across the country reported intense interest in digital real estate, as proved by their financial investments. On average, U.S. residents who had already invested in metaverse real estate were willing to spend $1,743—about $700 more than the average U.S. rent for a one-bedroom apartment. Crypto investors were surprisingly reticent, however, and only a quarter had already owned or rented property in the metaverse. Perhaps their digital focus lies elsewhere.
In another surprise, Gen Z was actually the most averse to renting and buying land in the metaverse, with baby boomers instead taking the lion's share of interest. In spite of being a digitally native generation, Gen Z was less likely than any other generation queried to either already own or want to own/rent property in the metaverse. Once Facebook rebranded as Meta, many joked that the metaverse would become the "boomerverse."
Unfortunately, gender investing gaps seem to be translating over into the metaverse. Men were 8 percentage points more likely than women to invest in digital real estate, just as they are with traditional real estate.
Hopes and dreams for digital real estate
Exterior lighting and energy efficiencies are some of the most desired characteristics of a home in the tangible real estate world. But what specifics are people in the metaverse wanting for their new digs?
The traditional real estate adage of "location, location, location" holds true in the metaverse as well. A good location was the No. 1 desired feature of digital real estate, followed not-so-closely by style (52%) and lot size (34%). For those locations, most were dreaming big in the metaverse: a private island (38%), national landmark (22%), or celebrity's home (13%) were all prospects mentioned. After Snoop Dogg recreated his mansion in the metaverse using Sandbox, plots adjacent to his home have been selling for nearly $500,000.
People were also heavily interested in some more blank canvas concepts. The No. 1 type of virtual property people wanted was a completely customizable home (44%), while 28% said they'd prefer an empty plot of land. Men, however, were more likely than women to take interest in the empty plots. As far as investments go, land plots have historically been risky within traditional real estate. The results remain unknown within the metaverse.
Investing in the home of your choice
Evidently, both tangible and virtual real estate are hot right now. The metaverse is exploding with new homes, new games and entirely new cities—and people are jumping on board. This study revealed just how eager people are to get into the game, wanting to spend more than the average American's monthly rent on digital land. Many had hopes for grandeur and expected to live on a private island or next to a celebrity.
Regardless of what your real estate dreams are for the metaverse, the home you're currently living in is entirely necessary to help you enjoy the digital one. Instead of letting the maintenance of that home take up all your focus, you can leave it to the experienced professionals at Cinch Home Services. Cinch provides your important and expensive appliances with a reliable home warranty so that you never have to worry about them becoming broken or outdated.
Methodology and limitations
We collected 1,000 survey responses from people in the United States. 28.7% of our participants identified as men, 68.3% identified as women and roughly 3% identified as nonbinary or nonconforming. The margin of error was +/- 3% with a 95% confidence level. The data we are presenting rely on self-report.
Fair use statement
Ready to get involved in the world of digital real estate? You can start small just by joining the conversation. Feel free to share this research with anyone in your audience who may find it interesting, but please be sure your purposes are noncommercial and that you link back to this page.