How to predict rising home prices, neighborhood change and gentrification

Emily Badger in the Washington Post: “…In neighborhoods like this undergoing rapid change, there’s a deep gulf between what we can see — someone is trying to build something — and what we know about what’s really happening. How big will that apartment be? When is it supposed to be finished? And, because I know you’re wondering: What are they planning to do about parking?This information, which can be gleaned from the magnificent treasure that is government building permits, often publicly exists. But it’s never really been democratized. A group of tech companies and pilot cities is trying to do that now in ways that could have some fascinating implications. Imagine if you had a location-aware app that could call up the details of a construction site as easily as Redfin can show you the nearest for-sale home….

So Zillow, Accela and several other partners and local governments including Tampa, San Diego and Chattanooga have developed a common standard all cities can use to publish data about building and construction permits. The concept has important precedent: Google helped coax cities to standardize their transit data so you can track bus and train routes on Google Maps. Yelp has tried to do the same with municipal restaurant inspection data so you can see health scores when you’re scouting dinner.

Building permit data similarly has the potential to change how consumers, researchers and cities themselves understand the built world around us. Imagine, to give another example, if an app revealed that the loud construction site in your neighbor’s back yard had no permits attached to it. What if you could click one link and tell the city that, speeding up the bureaucracy around illegal construction? …(More)”