Listing portals’ next step: sketching neighborhoods

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NEW YORK -- Listing portals currently help people pinpoint for-sale homes based mostly on criteria like price, size and general location. Their next step is to capture the character of a homes' surroundings, said Kevin Foreman, general manager of "geoanalytics" at traffic information provider INRIX Inc. "You pick a neighborhood first and then you pick a house in that neighborhood," Foreman said. Building on the success of injecting school boundaries and ratings into online listing search, portals will increasingly begin to surface information that tells consumers things like how long it takes to commute to work or whether a home is beneath a flight path or near a dump. While it remains to be seen whether real estate firms are ready to broadcast a listing's proximity to a dump, some surely will also add additional neighborhood information to their listing websites. Re/Max LLC, for example, just announced that it will begin rolling out INRIX’s search-by-commute-time to...