Real Estate - Web scraping

12 ways our customers are using real estate market data

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Historically, real estate has been a big player in the investment market and it will remain so. The reason is simple: we all need real estate to build homes and run businesses. 

Getting the best value out of real estate investment is difficult but not impossible. Sensing the market dynamics and finding opportunities is the key. There are many people who made it big in real estate: Shark Tank star Barbara Corcoran and US president Donald Trump are good examples. 

Real estate is a gold mine if you invest in the right property at the right time at the right price. However, finding that big RIGHT is the problem that is troubling real estate investors. Investors are turning to real estate market data or housing market data to help make purchasing decisions.

Simply saying Real estate market data or housing market data is the data obtained from real estate portals through web scraping.

Datahut has scraped real estate data for numerous companies in the real estate industry. Here are the 12 ways in which they use the real estate market data to beat their competition.

1. Real estate data helps companies monitor competitors inventory

Real estate portals are essentially a two-sided marketplace that connects buyers and sellers. One of the biggest factors which attract buyers is the amount of inventory the real estate portal has.  The more inventory you have, the better the prospects you attract.

The volume of inventory with decent Search engine optimization can boost your search appearance. This will translate into a spike total number of visits and thereby sales. Monitoring the inventory details of the competitors and analysing it can reveal interesting insights.

We’ve worked with a real estate portal from the US. Our customer needed data from 7 of their competitors’ websites in 12 cities. We built data extractors using our cloud-based platform and fed into the analytics tool of our customer. The customer was able to discover how their competitors are performing in inventory development across different real estate segments. This data was used as a benchmark for planning strategic initiatives to improve their own inventory development efforts.

2. Real estate data helps track inventory distribution across states/cities/Zipcodes

For data-driven companies, just knowing the size of the inventory is not enough. They need information on how it is distributed among states and cities, sometimes even at a zip code level if possible.

There are companies competing on a national level across all 50 states in the US. However, the distribution of inventory among them fluctuates a lot. Knowing these dynamics can be very useful for companies trying to get to reach the industry apex in that market.

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Even if a particular real estate portal holds the number one position in the total number of listings, it might be lagging in crucial markets where there is a lot of market activity. That is a gap worth filling.

One of our customers wanted zip code level property listing information from competitor sites and understand how it is distributed among them. We extracted this data for her and she used Tableau to plot the data on the maps of states in the US. A clear pattern and a lot of interesting insights were visible on the Tableau dashboard. 

Our customer experimented by strategically identifying and placing billboards to see if it changes the dynamics. Within a month there was a significant change in inventory growth and it was in direct proportion to the billboards. They decided to identify more strategically important positions and it was a clear path to success.

Note: They used a few other private data sets along with our market data to identify the location.

3. Real estate data helps companies track the prices of properties

In the real estate industry, the price is a deal maker or breaker for buyers and sellers. It is important for real estate investors and sellers to get the right price for their property.

How do you know what is the fair market price in a region? To find this, you can get the pricing information form real estate portals. If you monitor these prices long enough, you can get a time series data of the prices and this can be used to benchmark the base price. Furthermore, you can build a predictive analytics model to forecast future prices. 

Datahut worked with a large real estate brokerage firm who wanted to keep their sales reps informed about the inventory movement, price changes and other details. We monitored price changes across 12 different real estate portals. The data we scraped was pushed to their custom analytics engine. The output was exposed through an API and an APP on the tabs and phones of the sales rep was able to see visualizations of pricing data and other important information. This helped sales reps better engage prospects and sell more.

4. Real estate data helps understand shelf velocity of competitors inventory

Just before the housing crisis of 2008 – real estate was sold and bought like popcorn.

One of the investors who worked with us said the shelf velocity was on weed In Dubai. By the time you see a property and finish the due diligence, it would have sold at least 3 times in a month. His firm got scared and sold all the properties just before the crisis hit.

Shelf velocity or how fast the inventory is being sold is a KPI real estate investors must track. A slow shelf velocity and a high self velocity are signs of trouble.

A large real estate company with HQ in Singapore wanted our help to track the shelf velocity. They wanted to know how dynamic it is across different cities across different Asia and Pacific countries. We set up web scrapers on our cloud-based web scraping platform and delivered the data on a weekly basis for three months. This data revealed some very interesting insights. 

One of the markets he was interested in moving into had a very slow shelf velocity. Liquidation of assets would be very difficult and slow in such markets. Investors always need and exit route and the data was giving clear indications where not to go.

5. What type of properties are coming to the market how they are performing

From small houses to big buildings, a real estate portal has all kinds of data. If you take the top 10 real estate portals in a city, you will cover 90+ % of the inventory.real-estate2

An investor needs to know a lot of things before entering a market

  1. What types of inventory is coming to the market ( Villa, Whole building etc)
  2. What is the shelf velocity in each segment
  3. Which portals are dominating in each segment
  4. Which parts of the city /state/neighbourhood are contributing the most to the inventory.

Real estate market data can answer many of these questions. We’re working with a hedge fund which needs the market data to answer the questions above.

Web scraping is the best choice to get data from real estate websites. We setup data scrapers on our cloud-based data extraction platform. We extracted data from 20 websites from different countries to understand market dynamics.

Furthermore, real estate market data can be used to gain the following insights: 

6. To know the type of properties in the inventories across the state.

7. To help real estate brokers better negotiate with customers.

8. To know how to optimally use scarce resources and prioritize marketing spend. 

9. To help real estate investors in making a confident purchase decision.

10. To correlate crime rate data with demographics of the inventory to make safe investment decisions. 

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11. To correlate data from different sources to understand what type of amenities and emergency services are available nearby.

12. To correlate property data with foot traffic data to validate the commercial viability of ideas

13. Public records, such as plans for new infrastructure development can give insights to the direction in which the real estate market is moving

14. Train predictive algorithms for residential and commercial markets.

Real estate is a highly dynamic industry and filled with a lot of unknowns. However, prior conducted data insights using the right kind of data not only arm you with a strategical mindset for new investments but can also help you transform the real estate investment process completely. Real estate market data is a powerful tool as you explore new investment opportunities and grow your investment portfolio.

Are you a real estate firm looking to leverage data to grow your business? Get in touch with Datahut, your web scraping experts.

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