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February 9, 2006

The More You Know

Recently, a new website came to our attention via Assistant Professor Joe Zumalt at the ACES Library: Zillow.com. Founded by several former employees of Expedia, Inc. and Amazon.com, Inc. (click here for their bios), Zillow provides public access to home value information that has been only available through online services that require you to provide your contact information (so that you may be reached by a real estate agent), and to real estate agents through the Multiple Listing System database.

Zillow can be used by buyers, sellers, homeowners, and the just plain curious to find property values throughout the country. They combine their data with satellite and street maps so that you can browse from state level all the way down to neighborhoods and individual homes. The range of available data is quite enormous, and Zillow fully admits that they offer “lots of data in some areas, but little to no data in others.” (cited from the Zillow homepage) In an article from February 8, 2006, Walter S. Mossberg and Katherine Boehret of the Wall Street Journal – requires UIUC netid & password) found that Zillow had the most information in urban areas like Seattle, San Francisco, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Cleveland – less so for places like Chicago, Boston, and St. Louis.

The database is still in its beta form, so we can look forward to more additions and improvements. As for what it means for the real estate industry, we shall see that, too.

Erin G.

Posted by Becky at February 9, 2006 3:22 PM Posted to Technology