Bright MLS, a major multiple listing service operating in the Mid-Atlantic region, announced Tuesday that it is launching a new tool to give agents a “forward-looking measure” of housing demand in their respective markets.
The tool, called the Bright T3 Home Demand Index, is a collaboration with analytics and real estate ranking firm T3 Sixty. The idea, according to a statement, was that so far most industry data analysis has looked backward and described conditions in the past. Bright MLS, on the other hand, wanted a more predictive tool that could describe conditions as they are likely to be.
“The Bright T3 Home Demand Index captures what is happening right now and, over time, helps paint a picture of buying activity into the future,” the statement explains. “This gives real estate professionals valuable real-time information that they can use to better price homes for their clients.”
The statement goes on to describe the tool as a “first-of-its-kind forward-looking measure of housing demand.”
The tool specifically draws on data points such as presale activity, showing requests, home searches and views, among other things. An algorithm then crunches that data and produces an “index score” for the area. The scores range from zero to over 150 and are broken down into tiers that represent various levels of demand and activity, such as “high,” “moderate,” and “steady.”
Indexes are further broken down by housing type, and by price, which is meant to help agents and their clients better understand which properties might be most attractive to consumers.
During a demonstration, Inman observed how the tool broke down the market for Philadelphia. Overall, the city received an index score of 99, putting it in the “steady” category. However, the system also produced a color-coded map of the region with each zip codes getting its own score. In some cases, high demand areas sat next to low demand areas, highlighting how even in today’s hot market actual conditions in a city can vary considerably from block to block.
In addition to assisting with pricing, Bright MLS also sees this information as potentially helping agents strategize. For example, if clients are moving from an area with low demand and few buyers to one that is in high demand, they may want to make sure they sell their home before buying a new one so they don’t get stuck paying two mortgages. But if those clients are moving in the opposite direction, they may take an entirely different strategy.
In Tuesday’s statement, T3 Sixty Chairman and CEO Stefan Swanepoel touted the Bright T3 Home Demand Index” as giving agents “more accurate and almost real-time insight into the home buying and selling process.”
At the time of its launch, the Bright T3 Home Demand Index will cover Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Over time, the tool will expand to other areas within Bright MLS’s footprint.
Brian Donnellan, president and CEO of Bright MLS, ultimately concluded that the tool helps his organization in its mission to “drive our brokers’ and agents’ business forward.”
“The Bright T3 Home Demand Index serves this mission directly by giving real estate professionals and their clients an anticipatory look at housing demand that simply did not exist before,” he said. “More people will be able to make more informed decisions about real estate with this tool at their fingertips.”