Harvesting Online Housing Ads for Local Rent Surveys
Conducting a local rent survey has historically been a costly and time-consuming undertaking. Today, we have combined online tools with simple programming techniques to harvest large volumes of online housing advertisements at a very low cost. These ads can be used to create point-in-time snapshots of rents at small-level geographies; and because the process is automated, rental ads from sites like PadMapper are continuously harvested, allowing for sophisticated time-series analysis down the road. We’ve only scratched the surface of what can be done with this exciting new data.