Housing Data Mega-Pools in the Making

Once statistical accuracy is factored in, housing and mortgage databases can never be large enough and may be leading the way to one-stop shopping mega-pools.

Such privately owned housing data pools may not yet be able to compete with the IRS or other federal resources but they already are important to millions of people. Or depending on one’s point of view: millions of potential mortgage clients.

Zillow.com partnered with Apartments.com stating their common goal is to create a one-stop shopping experience for renter-to-homeowner viewers and vice versa.

The partnership joins two of the nation's largest Internet-based real estate and multifamily housing databases bringing the total number of rental listings for single-family homes and apartments up to 150,000.

Apartments.com adds to the Zillow website 90,000 managed apartment rental listings that include home details, photos, floor plans and property manager contact information.

Apartments.com users on the other hand will now have exposure to Zillow's 12 million monthly visitors of whom nearly two million currently are renters.

In addition to being displayed on Zillow, Apartments.com rental listings will also appear on the Zillow Mobile application, which is accessed by iPhone, Android, iPad and Windows Mobile platform users.

The joint database expands user experience for home shoppers undecided whether to rent or buy, or contemplating homeownership, says Zillow's vice president of mortgages and new ventures, Chloe Harford.

Apartments.com gives Zillow users “access to a new category of managed apartment rental listings” facilitating access to not only listings but also to advertised leasing offices and listings whose criteria can be neighborhoods, a ZIP code or city, and other home characteristics.

By December 2009, Zillow’s database already included 100 million U.S. homes and 4 million for-sale listings, which complements home shoppers’ demand since according to a recent Zillow survey, one in four of these shoppers plan to search for both homes to buy and homes to rent.

Apartments.com offers over 50,000 unique addresses representing over 3 million rental units from managed properties, newspaper classifieds and for-rent-by-owner properties.

John Walsh, president of MDA DataQuick of San Diego, is one of a growing number of mortgage industry veterans who see power in turning “immense amounts of real estate data into easy-to-use information for any industry.”

His company was built on that principle. The MDA DataQuick’s property repository database currently contains data on close to 110 million properties across the nation.

Most recently MDA DataQuick partnered with Worldata.

And according to Worldata the partnership helps create direct marketing lists that attract homeowners who have moved in the last 30 to 90 days. These datasets now include the DataQuick New Movers nationwide listing that also includes information about other local resources such as restaurants, home improvement stores, retail stores and storage facilities.

Beyond quantity however, the quality of data sets, analytics and management strategy has the potential to turn into a deal breaker or amplify demand.