, an apartment-search site with interactive mapping, today launched a series of new features that provide Census statistics, aerial imagery, Wikipedia articles and other detailed community information.

“The goal is to allow people to not only shop for their next home online, but also their next neighborhood,” according to Douglas Pope, vice president and director of operations for HotPads.

The site, which launched in November (see Inman News article), has about 19,000 active rental listings. HotPads does not charge to list properties or conduct searches. Instead, it relies on advertising for revenue. Users must create a free account to list properties and access advanced features at the site.

The new features allow users to click an “i” symbol for a city, county or ZIP code area to view the number of rental properties, population, median household income, per capita income, median rental price and percentage of renters in that area.

With another click, users can receive more detailed statistics for that area, such as Wikipedia articles, aerial views by Google and Microsoft’s Virtual Earth, and Census demographic information on people, housing and transportation. The transportation information includes “travel time to work” and “time departing for work” statistics for a given area. Registered users can save notes about properties, and the site tracks which properties are viewed by users.

Pope said the company has integrated with some property management companies to post property listings at the site. The largest market for the site so far is New York City, for which the site carries about 5,000 to 6,000 listings. Washington, D.C., Miami and Dallas are also among the popular markets for the site so far. The site has integrated about 26,000 Wikipedia articles that contain detailed information about cities across the country.

“We’re trying to create an atmosphere where people can try to research different neighborhoods they want to live in,” he said. While HotPads may eventually charge a fee for enhanced features at the site, Pope said that listings will always remain free.

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