Industry NewsTechnology

Stats, lies and real estate

Web innovations surface new forms of real estate data

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Real estate can be a numbers game, whether you are setting a listing price, making a purchase offer, choosing a mortgage product and down payment, locking in an interest rate, or negotiating the cost of a real estate agent's services. And there is no shortage of numbers. Trade groups, agents, bloggers and online communities, brokerage companies, media, institutes, economists and Web sites are among the sources of real estate statistics and information that generate reports, commentary, charts, graphs and maps about the state of the real estate market for a given area. In this era of electronic information and Internet innovation, consumers have more real estate information at their fingertips than ever before. The real estate obsession that swept the nation during the latest housing boom inspired some creative new ways to gather and display real estate statistics: heat maps, bubble maps, and a wave of new indices (including a "Zindex") and online tools. While industry statistics have...