Making Real Estate Data Actionable

At this point, the real estate industry has been hearing about the importance of data for so long that it is starting to lose its impact. Besides, even the least technological broker or landlord knows well the value of data. They may not call it “data” but every career or portfolio is built on top of market knowledge. Past success, of course, doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for improvement.

Most financial industries rely heavily on data when it comes to decision making. Stock traders, for example, use sophisticated algorithms that can find correlations between trends and price changes and can evaluate thousands, or even millions, of stocks simultaneously. 

There are important differences between equities and real estate that prevent computer-assisted analysis from taking place at scale in real estate. Stocks are fungible, every stock issued by a company is worth the same amount. Stocks have a transparent spot market for the price and can be easily bought and sold on electronic exchanges. This is not the case for real estate. Buildings are not uniform, they are different sizes, have different uses, and occupy different locations. Buildings are also not available on an exchange and finding compatible value is difficult since many don’t get transacted more than once in a decade, if at all. 

The problem is not the availability of data. There are plenty of places to get property data. The problem is organizing it in a way that it can be easily analyzed.

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