A longtime real estate investor is launching a set of subscription-based research tools that offer market statistics and forecasts at the national and micro level — down to the size of a Census block — as well as some free real estate tools at the company’s Web site.

Eddie Godshalk, the creator of REmapper, based in San Jose, Calif., said the company bases its algorithms on a range of data — some public and some compiled by other companies — and is unique in offering frequent updates for local data on job growth and vacancy rates, for example.

The likely users of the research will be real estate investors, real estate and mortgage professionals, and consumers, Godshalk said.

He has personally bought and sold more than 100 properties, and he has used his own tools in evaluating good markets to buy in. Godshalk said he self-funded REmapper but plans to seek investment capital to grow the company. He said he probably spends about $70,000 a year for real estate data for real estate information, "and I study all the gurus, too … most of the gurus are missing some of this core data."

The company plans to add about 8,300 pages to the REmapper.com Web site this week with information about U.S. cities. "We will have a page for every city in the United States with over 5,000 population." Also, the company is offering free metro-area reports during this launch phase.

Some other Web sites offer loads of real estate statistics at no charge, and Godshalk said REmapper’s value to subscribers is in the detail of its coverage and the currency of its information. Subscription packages range from $39.95 per month for a particular county area to $4,079.49 per year for an annual subscription to the company’s national data.

Because the company updates data on a monthly and quarterly basis, and draws from a broad range of statistical categories, it has the ability to build a better forecasting model, he said. The company’s Web site states that its analysis covers hundreds of variables in every county, city, ZIP code and Census block area. These block areas are smaller units than ZIP code areas.

The company offers home-value forecasts for the next six months and for the next year for user-selected areas.

There are variables that prevent price forecasting through a uniform formula for all areas in the country, Godshalk said, which complicates the prediction process. In some areas the pure laws of supply and demand for housing apply more than the ability to afford real estate, for example, he said.

In addition to vacancy and employment statistics, REmapper also factors in housing affordability, new business growth, and income statistics into its forecasting tools.

Census block areas are smaller than ZIP code areas — Godshalk said there are 46 Census block areas in his ZIP code — and real estate professionals may value this neighborhood-level statistical detail, which they could pass on to clients in the form of market reports.

In forecasting home values, Godshalk said that home values above $1 million and below $50,000 are tossed out because they can skew the home values for typical homes.


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