UBCO researchers create real estate market assessment tool

Helping real estate decisions

UBC Okanagan researchers are trying to take the mathematical mystery out of what could be a person’s biggest investment — buying a home.

UBCO School of Engineering professor Zheng Liu says the real estate market changes rapidly and there are many considerations to make when purchasing property.

Dr. Liu and his doctoral student Junchi Bin, along with Faculty of Management Associate Professor Eric Li, created a regional house price mining and forecasting framework (RHPMF) and recently published research that tests their tool.

“Real estate is always one of the largest expenses throughout a person’s life,” said Liu.

“Before making decisions on house transactions, people consult real estate agents to obtain knowledge of the market. And these days, people are more cautious than ever about costly failures such as a real estate investment.”

The idea behind this tool is to help people further understand the population, growth and background of a specific community or neighbourhood based on real-world housing data, which includes housing costs, social dynamics and history.

“The real estate market has a significant influence on people’s daily life,” adds Bin.

“Therefore, it is crucial to understand real estate from both the spatial and historical perspectives. What’s going on in the neighbourhood where you want to buy?”

To get a full understanding on your local market, the researchers say people must mine the area for data, learn about supply, location of housing, history and current dynamics like crime rates in the area. These things need to be assessed or "mined" before determining if the area is right for them.

The new framework introduces a series of filtering algorithms to extract spatial and historical factors about a specific neighbourhood.

For example, users can input a street address into the web-based tool. The algorithm then analyzes the data and releases a comprehensive report to users with all the corresponding information. This will assist estate brokers in visualizing, analyzing and forecasting progressive evolution of real estate prices.

“These case studies indicate that the RHPMF framework can accurately capture the market’s spatial distribution and evolution and then forecast future regional house prices compared with recent baselines. The results suggest the great potential of the proposed RHPMF in real estate industries," explained Dr. Li.

“...With accurate and explainable analysis, the clients can make smart and reliable decisions related to the estate market.”

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