New BuildZoom “Hyper-Local” Map Shows Remodeling Activity in San Francisco

Using public building permit data, BuildZoom reveals heatmap showing remodeling in every neighborhood in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, JANUARY 12, 2015 – BuildZoom, the intelligent marketplace for remodeling and construction services, today presented the market’s first analysis and map revealing remodeling activity at the hyper-local level.

Using the company’s proprietary data on building permits throughout the U.S., BuildZoom now has the capability to quantify and display residential and commercial remodeling activity hyper-locally, for neighborhoods and even for individual city blocks.

“The remodeling map provides a novel way to see what’s happening in the real estate market,” said Jiyan Wei, co-founder of BuildZoom. “Moving forward, we’ll be releasing additional insight into local remodeling, a heretofore invisible aspect of the housing market, to better inform decision-making by homeowners, homebuyers, builders and investors in regions across the country.”

“The fine geographic resolution at which we can provide meaningful remodeling data is unprecedented” said Issi Romem, Chief Economist at BuildZoom. “Short of digging through each city’s permits one by one, there is currently no other way of getting at this information, but we can make it easy.”

The initial analysis of the San Francisco market data reveals the following key trends:

  • Not unexpectedly, remodeling is largely clustered in higher-income, owner-occupied neighborhoods. The data shows that an increase of one standard deviation in a neighborhood’s household income corresponds to a 27 percent rise in remodeling activity, while an increase of one standard deviation in a neighborhood’s share of renters corresponds to a 22.5 percent drop in remodeling activity.
  • This profile holds for the largest cluster of remodeling activity, in the Hilltop and Valley neighborhoods from Cole Valley and Haight-Ashbury in the north to Balboa Park in the south, as well as for the affluent enclaves of Sea Cliff and Pacific Heights.
  • In contrast, homes in the Richmond and Sunset districts, predominantly renter-occupied, see a lower rate of renovation, as do properties in most neighborhoods in the southeast quadrant of the city. Remodeling activity is the least intense in the area between the Tenderloin and the Western Addition.
  • Exceptions to the home ownership trend include the Financial District – Union Square – SOMA cluster, which shows up as the most intense hotbed of remodeling activity. The affluent neighborhoods of North Beach and Telegraph Hill, which actually have higher renter shares than their immediate surroundings, also see high rates of renovation, as does the Dogpatch.
  • The age of buildings in a neighborhood is only a minor factor in the rate of renovation once household income and the share of renters are taken into account.

Romem added, “The value of hyper-local information on remodeling activity is especially clear in places like San Francisco, where opportunities for new construction are limited and much of the action in real estate is in upgrading and re-purposing of existing properties. Just like Zillow and Trulia brought us greater transparency with respect to home values, our data will provide much-needed transparency with respect to the physical state of properties, to everyone’s benefit.”

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