New Insights into Rental Housing Markets Across the United States: Web Scraping and Analyzing Craigslist Rental Listings

Journal of Planning Education and Research, 2016, DOI: 10.1177/0739456X16664789

20 Pages Posted: 26 May 2016 Last revised: 24 Aug 2016

See all articles by Geoff Boeing

Geoff Boeing

University of Southern California - Sol Price School of Public Policy

Paul Waddell

University of California, Berkeley - Department of City and Regional Planning

Date Written: 2016

Abstract

Current sources of data on rental housing – such as the census or commercial databases that focus on large apartment complexes – do not reflect recent market activity or the full scope of the U.S. rental market. To address this gap, we collected, cleaned, analyzed, mapped, and visualized 11 million Craigslist rental housing listings. The data reveal fine-grained spatial and temporal patterns within and across metropolitan housing markets in the U.S. We find some metropolitan areas have only single-digit percentages of listings below fair market rent. Nontraditional sources of volunteered geographic information offer planners real-time, local-scale estimates of rent and housing characteristics currently lacking in alternative sources, such as census data.

Keywords: Housing, Big Data, Web Scraping, Craigslist, Urban Economics, Data Science, GIS

JEL Classification: A1, C1, C6, C63, C8, D4, D5, E3, H30, R1, R10, R12, R14, R2, R21, R3, R31, R38, R5, R52, R58

Suggested Citation

Boeing, Geoff and Waddell, Paul, New Insights into Rental Housing Markets Across the United States: Web Scraping and Analyzing Craigslist Rental Listings (2016). Journal of Planning Education and Research, 2016, DOI: 10.1177/0739456X16664789. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2781297 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2781297

Geoff Boeing (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Sol Price School of Public Policy ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626
United States

Paul Waddell

University of California, Berkeley - Department of City and Regional Planning ( email )

228 Wurster Hall #1850
Berkeley, CA 94720-1850
United States

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