5 ways Big Data is changing Real Estate

Sectors   |   
Published July 17, 2014   |   
James O'Brien

Real estate has traditionally been a game won or lost based on old-fashioned networking and shoe-leather style hard work — deeply dependent on timing, detecting trends and more than a little bit of luck.

It may not be that way for much longer, however. Big data is changing the way real-estate professionals, buyers, sellers — and even banks — think about transactions involving property.

On one hand, companies promoting services that plug consumers into big data real estate info are heralding a future of better education and insight. On the other hand, real estate professionals are questioning whether big data algorithms can replace the human-wisdom side of property sales. Other players have points of view on the changes underway as well. Analyzing enormous swathes of information — much of it aggregated from disparate places and formats — big data proposes that accessing the patterns locked up in a myriad of real-estate info could remake the game. And so, let’s look at five key facets — the people, organizations and trends — of real estate’s ongoing big data evolution.

1. Democratizing data for the real-estate consumer

If you want to identify the kind of platform that’s emerged to combine big data with real estate, one way is to look to Zillow and companies like it.

“We’ve moved from raw data to information and context, and finally to real, actionable insight,” said Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow, during a phone interview. The company aims to “create complete transparency of real-estate info,” Humphries said. “We not only want to create complete transparency but also analytics products.”

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