Collaboration with Google Boosts Interest in Real Estate Services
As in most industries, data has changed the way real estate professionals do business. From home valuations to local school, business and crime statistics, today’s brokers and agents are armed with a lot of information—consumers have come to expect nothing less.
While the industry has come a long way in the data arena, a new player stands to raise the bar by empowering agents with credible, three-year projections of a home’s value. San Francisco-based HouseCanary is a real estate analytics company using data science to accurately value and forecast over 18,000 U.S. residential markets and 100 million properties. In January, HouseCanary announced $33 million in funding from several top-level tech players—including Hillspire and Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt’s family office. Last week, HouseCanary announced its collaboration with Google Cloud Platform Commercial Datasets, adding its home price indices to Google’s service providing premium data to financial institutions.
Big names, big money and big data. The question is, what does HouseCanary mean to the residential real estate professional?
Let’s start with the most important component: the quality of the data. In an industry where accuracy is paramount and valuations have been suspect, data is only as good as its precision. HouseCanary believes it has resolved the inaccurate data dilemma by applying complex algorithms to ingesting, scrubbing, organizing and analyzing data on 100 million U.S. residential properties to create a single source of reliable, accurate insight.
“Other home valuation methods are based largely on historical comparable sales,” explains HouseCanary CEO Jeremy Sicklick. “HouseCanary measures price movements on every residential block in the country, allowing for precise valuations today and three years into the future. Our algorithms combine 40 years of history, 1 billion residential transactions and hundreds of proprietary calculations influencing home values, such as capital markets, jobs, traffic…even views from a property’s backyard.”
Such high-caliber data elevates the real estate professional’s role as information provider and trusted advisor. In markets challenged by low inventory, rising prices and increasing interest rates, the ability to provide prospects and clients with a three-year forecast of a property’s value serves as a clear competitive advantage.
“Giving REALTORS® instant access to accurate house value and the ‘why behind the value’—like market demand, months-of-supply, macroeconomic data, even rental values—allows REALTORS® to become a trusted source of data unattainable elsewhere, and helps them guide sellers to the optimal listing price,” says Sicklick. “We hear all the time that our data allows them to ‘prove their gut’ on property prices and local market trends.”
So, while HouseCanary has established itself with lenders, real estate investors and appraisers, it is also quickly forging new roads for real estate agents, providing them with important tools to compete on the frontlines for listings. Agents can bring their local expertise to HouseCanary reports by adding or removing properties or property details to instantly adjust a home’s comparable value. HouseCanary reports can also be personalized, branded and printed, as well as shared through its mobile-friendly app.
“Our rich reports are accessible instantly, customized with the agent’s name, photo and contact information, sharable and printable as testimony to their expertise,” says Martin Morzynski, HouseCanary’s CMO. “The precision, presented with professional charts and graphs, boosts an agent’s credibility and helps substantiate their local market expertise.”
That said, given the funding and scope of HouseCanary’s business model, not to mention the collaboration with Google Cloud Datasets, it begs the question, what is HouseCanary’s ultimate end game? Should brokers and agents be worried (yet again) about disintermediation? Sicklick says no.
“Our Google data product is designed for banks and large investors,” he explains. “HouseCanary has launched individual products designed specifically to meet the needs of real estate professionals. This is not about competing for the consumers’ business—it’s about competing for the REALTORS®’ business by giving them an information advantage otherwise only available to institutions. We see Google selecting HouseCanary as a provider of real estate data to banks and Wall Street investors as brand endorsement that further solidifies HouseCanary’s position as the most accurate provider of real data in the business.”
Want to see more? Sicklick recently spoke at the Google Cloud Next ’17 conference in San Francisco. While his discussion was geared toward HouseCanary’s investor audience, it provides a clear picture of what HouseCanary does and its application for residential real estate professionals. View the presentation below: