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Category Archives: Housing

Zillow’s new AI-powered search helps shoppers find their ideal home 

Real Estate News: “Zillow is making it easier for home shoppers to find exactly what they want on the search portal — without all the clicks.  The company announced a new “natural language search” feature that is now live on the Zillow app for iOS users and will soon arrive on Android devices. The search feature allows shoppers to “ask” for specific types of properties, using the same kind of language they would use when talking to a person.  Zillow is the first major residential real estate marketplace to introduce AI-powered search for consumers.  Most home search portals, including Zillow, have typically required shoppers to enter a location and then select from a variety of filters — price, number of beds or bath, amenities and more — in order to get the results they want. With its new AI-enabled search bar, Zillow users can specify those details all at once, and include features that aren’t listed among the default filters, by typing something like “3-bedroom homes with a pool near a park” or “open house near me under $400,000.” Shoppers can also save their natural-language searches and turn on notifications to alert them when a new qualifying listing is posted.

Beyond easy-to-filter criteria like bedrooms and bathrooms, buyers are considering many other specific features that match their unique lifestyle,” said Jenny Arden, Zillow’s chief design officer, in a news release. “This new tool is a game changer for home shopping, because it helps shorten the sometimes long and stressful house-hunting process by creating an easy, more modern way to search, and it delivers relevant  search results in a simple, uncluttered way.”  With millions of unique visitors each month, the new feature is expected to have an impact on how people search for homes. It’s the latest example of companies using artificial intelligence on a consumer platform; other real estate and financial firms like Compass and LoanSnap have begun using AI to help with different aspects of the homebuying transaction, and the public launch of ChatGPT in December is likely to spur more real estate forays into natural language AI.

How to Delete Your House’s Pictures From Sites Like Zillow, Redfin, and Realtor

Lifehacker: “Our personal data shows up in so many public online spaces. But while there are ways to review and delete your data from social media profiles or even Google search, one place you may not think to check is your property’s listing on sites like Redfin, Zillow, or Realtor.com. While it’s unlikely someone will… Continue Reading

Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters

NOAA – “The U.S. has sustained 341 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2022). The total cost of these 341 events exceeds $2.475 trillion. In 2022, there were 18 weather/climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each to affect the United States.… Continue Reading

Coastal Risk Screening Tool

“An interactive map showing areas threatened by sea level rise and coastal flooding. Combining the most advanced global model of coastal elevations with the latest projections for future flood levels. Flood maps are only as good as the elevation data they’re founded on. We used machine learning to develop CoastalDEM ®, a high-accuracy digital elevation… Continue Reading

Redfin Adds Zoning Data for More Than 70 Million Homes

Redfin: “Today, we added zoning and land use information to home description pages on Redfin.com. This information, which is provided by our partners at Zoneomics, will help you understand the implications of your local zoning guidelines and how your property can and cannot be used. In addition to determining what property types and density are… Continue Reading

TIME The Best Inventions of 2022

“Every year for over two decades, TIME editors have highlighted the 100 most impactful new products and ideas. This year, in a rapidly shifting world, innovation boomed. So in 2022, for the first time ever, we selected the year’s 200 Best Inventions. To compile the list, we solicited nominations from TIME’s editors and correspondents around… Continue Reading

Scam apartment listings are everywhere. Here’s how to spot them.

Washington Post: Dodging fraudulent listings is creating extra stress for apartment-hunters. “But fake listings have telltale signs…Today, navigating real estate scams is part of the process for prospective renters looking for homes online. And the sustained spike in housing prices amid inflation and supply problems makes people more vulnerable as they scramble to find something… Continue Reading

Rent Going Up? One Company’s Algorithm Could Be Why

Pro Publica: “Texas-based RealPage’s YieldStar software helps landlords set prices for apartments across the U.S. With rents soaring, critics are concerned that the company’s proprietary algorithm is hurting competition…For years, RealPage has sold software that uses data analytics to suggest daily prices for open units. Property managers across the United States have gushed about how… Continue Reading

Exploring gaps in city climate planning and the need for regional action

Brookings: “The growing threats from climate change leave the global population no choice: We must decarbonize human activity as soon as possible. That includes changing how we build, travel, generate power, and more to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Achieving such transformative change will require a mix of policy reforms, new technologies, and significant capital… Continue Reading

The 6th National Risk Assessment on Hazardous Heat

“New research from First Street Foundation analyzes the the prevalence of increasing extreme temperatures and dangerous heat wave events throughout the contiguous United States, with a key finding being the incidence of heat that exceeds the threshold of the National Weather Service’s (NWS) highest category for heat, called “Extreme Danger” (Heat Index above 125°F) is… Continue Reading