The real estate industry is opaque with a tremendous amount of data sources that are either inaccurate, inaccessible, or both. With so much data available, it can be overwhelming to parse through, verify, and glean insights. This is problematic as the real estate industry grows in complexity by the day.
Businesses get bogged down in the numbers if they are working with too many disparate and unverifiable data sets. Commercial real estate (CRE) data providers synthesize that information into coherent data sets that can be used to make predictions about future trends.
What is CRE Data?
Commercial real estate data encompasses everything an investor, brokerage firm, or anyone in the real estate industry would need to learn about a property or neighborhood. That could include market values, property transactions, investment trends for the area, or demographic info.
A good deal of the CRE data that’s available comes from public sources –– tax documents, building permits, and other information that’s been submitted to state and county governments.
So why would you pay for information that’s freely available? Primarily because the databases containing that information are fragmented and require extensive cross-checking to make any meaning from the data. That’s where real estate data providers can make all the difference.
5 Reputable Real Estate Data Providers
Unlike public traded stocks, the real estate market is much less transparent and its players often don’t agree on the prices of the past, much less where those prices might go in the future.
Reputable real estate data providers pluck this historic data from a variety of public and private sources, which can be an absolute nightmare for investors unfamiliar with the byzantine systems used by state and local governments. These trustworthy sources not only find all of the data but also compile reports that streamline the investment decision-making process.
CompStak is a commercial real estate data platform intended for qualified lenders, landlords, investors, and advisors. CompStak crowdsources its data from verified active professionals at commercial brokerages and appraisal firms. The data provider’s key differentiator is its free “Exchange” platform offering free comps data verified by data scientists.
The largest real estate data provider, with listings in the U.S., Canada, Germany, the U.K., Spain, and France, Costar will often be the first stop for most businesses searching for a real estate data source. Their data covers over 2,700 submarkets covering sales activity, geographic data, vacancy rates, and emerging markets trends. They also have a freemium version available for trial to see if they’re the right fit for your needs.
Green Street is a leading real estate data provider that offers transaction data, forecasts, news, and industry analysis reports for North America and Europe. Green Street recently released a new mapping and analytics platform with enhanced data visualization capabilities for market, submarket, zip code, and property-level data.
Real Capital Analytics (RCA)
Real Capital Analytics is a top source for global transaction data. Their data dates back to 2001 and modules include transaction level data, monthly trends, and investor profiles. Most of their data is verified by three sources making RCA a reliable provider. Analysts are also available to answer any questions you may have about CRE data.
REIS maintains a proprietary database of commercial real estate information on approximately 275 metropolitan markets and around 7,700 submarkets throughout the United States. The company’s data trends back to 1980. With a multi-family focus, REIS offers comparable rent reports in growth, vacancy rates, maps, and more. They also capture granular property level data which sets them apart from other real estate data providers.
Tips for Selecting a Real Estate Data Provider
Not all real estate providers are created equal and each offers its own set of tools and analytics that may be useful to your business. Below are some of the most important things to consider when choosing a real estate data source.
Determine Data Integrity
If the data is proprietary, assess how the data provider is gathering it and how frequently they update their records. If a third-party CRE database is being used, ensure you confirm which are being utilized. Some databases are more reputable than others and have varying degrees of accuracy and update frequencies.
Discover Analytics Capabilities
Data is only the first step in the process. Evaluate what tools and models they offer that help turn a multitude of fields and disparate data sets into a cohesive story that can be used to make investment decisions. Don’t just look at the size of the databases your provider pulls from, find out what they can do with all that data.
Consider the Comprehensiveness of Property-Level Data
Real estate databases are frequently incomplete, so providers need to look elsewhere and do some cross-referencing to get a clear picture. If you’re not finding the information you need for a particular area of interest, you may need a new real estate data provider.
It is also important to evaluate the provider’s communication skills. It is not only the tools that are helpful for analyzing the data, but also the industry experts and researchers that help provide color and context. They can help you make sense of all of the numbers when needed.
Consider the Provider’s Reputation
CRE data providers often collect information from other sources, which may include government databases or other third parties. The providers stake their name on the accuracy of the data, so it pays to check out the reputation they’ve built up over the years.
Consider the Geographic Coverage
Not all real estate data providers cover all geographies. Some are specific to certain countries & regions and many have limited data for anywhere outside their focus area. The comprehensiveness of state and local data is affected by non-disclosure laws, so you’ll need non-public sources of data in these places.
Purchase the Best Data At the Best Price
Finding a real estate provider that not only offers reliable data but also informative analytics can be a challenge. If you’re not well-versed in the fast-changing commercial real estate data landscape, it might be useful to hire a third party to vet your providers; a procurement consultant can take the guesswork out of selecting a provider.
If a procurement consultant sounds like a viable option for your business, Concertiv can get you started with a reliable real estate data provider.
Concertiv Can Help You Choose the Best Real Estate Data Provider
We work with over 30 vendors in the real estate market in the data and research field and we can help you to find the very best provider for your needs. Before we embark on our search, we’ll ask you questions about the nature of your business, your budget, and what you’re looking for in a real estate data provider.
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