In Real Estate, Whose Data Is It Anyway?

One look at the list of the largest companies in the world tells you all you need to know about the value of data. The top three, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon, are also the biggest data aggregators in the world. Commercial real estate is one of the industries that rely heavily on data in order to make what can be incredibly profitable or devastatingly costly decisions. That means that property data has a lot of intrinsic value. To quantify just how valuable real estate data is, we only need to compare the market cap of the largest commercial brokerage and property manager, CBRE, to a commercial real estate aggregator, CoStar, which at the time of writing are both worth around $28 billion. This might not seem that striking until you dig further to realize that CoStar, a company that mainly focuses on the U.S. property industry and makes around $2 billion in revenue, is worth as much as CBRE, which operates in over 100 countries and has an annual revenue of almost $7.5 billion.

So if the value of real estate data is so obvious, why are so many companies giving it away? Every time a broker, lender, landlord, or owner puts their data into a property technology platform, they are essentially giving it to them to monetize. Sure, giving data to CoStar or VTS or CompStak is much different than giving it to their competitors, but those numbers will likely become a part of benchmarks that competitors use for their

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