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Oodle Launches Real Estate Pricing Guide

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Classified search site Oodle.com released a new feature today that display a real-time pricing guide for its classifieds listings. The guides are currently available in three of their verticals; real estate, rentals and automobiles.

Building off the premise that all markets are local, Oodle’s Index shows you the average price of a home in your search, as well as an animated bar graph of the inventory of homes available similar price ranges. You can further refine the Index based on a particular neighborhood and by the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as see the median price per location to begin to compare different areas.

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To find the Index, choose your city and enter your search criteria once you have a number of listings displayed, click on the ‘Pricing’ tab on the far right (next to Map) to display the Index.

The Oodle Index is much like the Trulia’s new report, in that they’ve both sprung from these companies realizing they are sitting on a mountain of information and can begin to mine their data for interesting trends.

Recently, I had a chance to chat with Craig Donato, Oodle’s CEO, and he explained to me that their goal in launching the new feature was to further provide greater context to their searches.

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From their press release:

The Oodle Index helps shoppers by providing them with pricing data that is comprehensive, timely and local. Data is based on a detailed analysis of hundreds of millions of local classified listings that flow through Oodle. The Index is updated daily, with pricing analyzed by local metro, city and neighborhood. Existing pricing tools fall short in that they typically are based on small samples of data or depreciation tables, are updated infrequently, and don’t take into account the vast differences in local pricing.

I have some concern about the quality of the data, as the vast majority of their data seems to be indexed from the Internet. Not having access to the full IDX feeds means oodle’s Index is based on a very select sample (of their own listings) and may not be completely representative of what’s going on in the market. For a far more accurate pulse, check out Altos Research’s market information solutions.

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But, it’s not that not having a full sample can’t give you a useful reference point. The pricing seemed about right for my area (see Portland (Multnomah), OR Real Estate), but then I’m curious what others discover in their own areas. Is Oodle’s Index accurate, or even close to being accurate in your neighborhood? Please post your findings in the comment section.

Oodle is making overtures to expand their listings by accepting more feeds from agents or broker’s websites and they are working with a number of secondary service providers to enable this, including iHomefinder, Z57 and vFlyer. Furthermore, they are very anxious to work with real estate professionals to provide another marketing platform for their listings – agents can buy sponsored listings on the results pages on a Pay-Per-Click basis. I think if they can successfully increase the number of “pure” feeds into their database, the Index will improve immeasurably.

Oodle is working hard to ensure that the results in their engine are fresh and relevant – though I did find listings that were already sold or expired in some of my searches. Oodle has a proprietary algorithm that ranks the quality of the posting based on age and a number of other factors, so older listings are supposed to move down in the results. They also work hard on spam detection and like craigslist, they allow the community to flag certain listings as spam or as unavailable. This too should help the overall accuracy of the Index.

Oodle is currently live in 358 cities and draws over 2 million monthly visitors.