Real estate pricing research project

Job Posted: 19.11.2021 0:32:41

I need to get some data about the difference between housing rental vs. purchase prices in a few cities in the East Bay area of California. This research will consist of searching online in publicly available databases for a few dozen house/rental records, and recording a few bits of data from each one.

In particular, I want to know the following two ratios, and how they are different from one location to the next:
– buy vs. rent a house
– buy a condo vs. rent an apartment
I will do the calculations with the data you collect.

Purchase data will come from Zillow.com, and renting data will come from Craigslist. The process will be:
1. do a search in each city on both platforms
2. determine what size of unit (e.g. 2 vs 3 bedrooms) has the most data points across both sources
3. update the search across both platforms to ensure the unit size is consistent
4. then record a few key attributes for each unit for rent or sale, up to around 20 for each location in a google docs spreadsheet which I will set up

Terminology:
A condo (aka condominium) is a similar space to an apartment, but its able to be bought and owned, whereas an apartment is only available for monthly rental.
I’m using the term “unit” to refer to any house/condo/apartment generally

Search parameters:
1. Zillow: For Purchase
– only search for “completed sales”, houses/condos sold in the last 3 months. (see screenshot – this requires touching two different filters)
– for the house search, include only “houses” in the unit type selector. For the Condos search, include “condos/coops” and “apartments”
– only search within the boundaries of the geography listed
– start by searching for 2 bedroom houses/condos. If there are less than 5 sold in the last 3 months, then check for 3 bedroom units. If there are more than 5, use 3 bedroom for this location.
– put the name of the city and state into the search box, such as “El Cerrito, CA”
– if there are more than 20 matching units, then use the map to randomly select units closer to the city center (or area of greatest density of matches on the map), but still distributed geographically, and only record the top 20 units. Definitely do not use the first results sorted by price, and do not get more than a few results from any one block or building/development complex, as this will skew the data.

2. Craigslist: Rentals
– start with https://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/eby/apa
– to focus on an area, use distance from the zip code provided in the spreadsheet to look within 1 mile of the city center. Broaden this search one mile at a time, up to 4 miles, until there are at least 20 matching units. Don’t go over 4 miles
– filter by the number of bedrooms, and the housing type
– use the map to randomly select a subset (same as described above) if there are more than 20 listings, or use the distance filter to narrow the selection.

Key attributes to collect for each unit:
– price: House (total purchase price), Condo (total purchase price, and monthly HOA fees), Apartment (monthly rental price)
– unit size (2 bedroom, 3 bedroom, etc)
– if present, unit size in square feet (sq ft or ft^2)
– top 1-3 other outstanding distinguishing characteristics that affect the price of the unit, if there are any, and they are unusual for that area (compared to the other listings) such as: swimming pool, parking space (for an apartment), or no laundry in unit
– a link to the listing

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