Buying a house is intimidating. Understanding my local housing market proved to be more challenging than expected because online articles and resources were disappointingly generic. Beyond some basic questions like “how much house can I afford?” I wasn’t sure how to evaluate whether the price for a listing was a good deal. So, I did my own analysis of housing data.
Step 1: Google
To start, I found that Trulia and Zillow have a portion of their sites devoted to real estate trends. Trulia had a sexy-yet-mysterious map while Zillow had a teasing assortment of graphs. I don’t really care about anything besides 2–4 bedroom single family homes, so looking at aggregate data for all types of housing is not helpful. I can only assume Trulia included everything in their maps and graphs since they didn’t provide that detail, and Zillow has some options for single family homes that are only available for Zillow-specific metrics. Frustrating. I wanted more information before letting myself be channeled into the sales funnel.
Step 2: Novice to GIS Pro
I was overjoyed to find that the City of Madison has an open data initiative. The Assessor Property Information data set has nearly 80 thousand listings and was updated 8/2016. This is a gold mine of information, yet unfortunately I have to leave out all the surrounding suburbs because they do not have this kind of information available as of this date.
Mapping the Madison data was my first priority. I used the program Tableau Continue reading