The Rise Of The Neigborhood Property Database

Hidden Value In Abandoned BuildingsTwo truths: Technology in commercial real estate has centered around listings.  And technology is getting cheaper and easier to employ.

What happens when these truths meet?  The transformation of software applications that handle property listings.

The Old Way

The database software underneath the property listing sources you may use in your commercial real estate practice is heavy-duty stuff.  It has to store millions of pieces of information about properties and communities, it has to allow users to see that information in a useful way, and it has to act very fast so changes to an ever-changing set of data are reflected to all users as soon as possible.

Once, this kind of software power was reserved solely for the “big boys” – corporate behemoths employing expensive systems more akin to the kind of software that lurked at the heart of banks and airlines.  Deep capital expenditures in hardware and software for years kept innovation in the listings space from blossoming.

Then, the twin explosions of microcomputing and the internet changed the landscape forever.  A flood of technology offerings aimed at everybody in every corner of the commercial property industry has created entirely new classes of listing and related technology company while raising customer expectations to the sky.  Buyers expect good and fast matches for their property criteria in every business property sector from industrial to office to retail to specialty.

What isn’t often discussed is the next stage of this technology wave.  The plummeting cost and rising power of software and hardware means ever=greater redefinitions of what a basic listing application can be.  A new class of highly localized listing databases are cropping up in markets across the country to reflect that trend.

Old Rules, New Software

All real estate is local, and the most worthwhile intelligence about the properties is also sourced locally.  While that’s not news, what is new is a way to get that intelligence.  We’re seeing the rise of hyperlocal listing data, curated by independent community members, freely published on the web.  This freedom means the criteria for inclusion of properties and information about them is up to the local curator, leading to the exciting creation of unique resources not seen before.

One such example that caught my eye this week: Hidden Value In Abandoned Buildings.   This application contains a set of abandoned properties on the near South Side of Chicago, along with nearby amenities.  Curated by the application’s owners and creators, HVIAB helps to show at a glance a pattern difficult to find elsewhere: a view of abandoned property embedded in various communities, supported with street view.

Independent, hyperlocal database publishing of this kind is on the rise, and the criteria for property inclusion is wide open.  Commercial RE professionals working communities who don’t seek out custom listing databases like this in their markets are missing out on how local intelligence, independence, and powerful software work together.


  • Rebecca Nemeth

    December 12, 2012

    Interesting. I’ll be thinking about this one – and how/if it could be applied to residential real estate too. We’ve been providing hyperlocal info in the residential sector for years, and its usually been separate from the MLS.

  • Cindy Mize

    December 12, 2012

    Great food for thought. And, it is nice to see folks willing to share their research with the community. I just bookmarked this entry. Great idea.

  • This article was well written and easy to follow. “The Rise Of The Neigborhood Property Database” – interesting title Wayne. Very valuable information Wayne.


Leave a Reply