The Hot Housing Market… In the Metaverse

Real estate builders and investors are increasingly turning to the metaverse, the catch-all phrase for the growing conglomerate of immersive digital worlds where avatars work, play, and purchase goods. Much like in the real world, supply and demand play a role in the fixed-scale pricing for virtual parcels, which are bought and sold in cryptocurrency and powered by the blockchain. While the implosion of FTX and projections of a cryptocurrency winter have impacted some aspects of the cryptocurrency world, the metaverse real estate market is expected to grow by $5.37 billion by 2026. Despite the metaverse’s emergence in 2003, virtual real estate didn’t truly take off until late 2021, when Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would now be called META. As virtual real estate increases in value, the number of metaverse homes being constructed on parcels of land is also increasing. The new digital frontier offers a place to gather and show off in the increasingly online world.

In March, Gabe Sierra, a contractor whose family has been in the construction business for more than 30 years, will take offers for his latest creation: an 11,000-square-foot mansion with seven bedrooms and a pool in Pinecrest, Miami.

To sweeten the deal, he’s throwing in the exact same house and a King Kong-size, bright green gorilla that scales downtown skyscrapers and stalks the streets of South Florida.

The twin home is in the metaverse — a catchall phrase for the growing conglomerate of immersive digital worlds where avatars work, play and purchase goods. Pixelated parcels of land are being bought, sold and built upon in a market now worth $1.4 billion, making the metaverse a new frontier for real estate builders and investors.

Mr. Sierra, an avid gamer who uses a purple gorilla as one of his own avatars, paid $10,000 for a digital parcel in an online world called the Sandbox, and then partnered with Voxel Architects, an architecture firm specializing in virtual 3-D properties, to build the digital home to pair with the real thing. It all hits the auction block in March, and he’s hoping for a sale price of around $10 million.

“It’s a project that blends the line between physical and digital to the furthest extent that I could on a residential home,” Mr. Sierra said of the house, called Meta Residence One. “It pairs a real-world build and expands on it in the digital space. As these technologies get more immersive, it’s going to make a lot more sense.”

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The Hot Housing Market… In the Metaverse

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