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With Algorithms Buying Homes, What Could Go Wrong?

The Wall Street Journal reports that big players in the real estate industry have started to embrace quantitative data analysis and mathematical modeling, utilizing algorithms to evaluate how homes are scouted and purchased. For instance, Blackstone Group's Invitation Homes calculates how much a potential property may cost to renovate based on location, size and age, while comparing it to a database of thousands of properties. This computer arms race by players such as Silver Bay Realty Trust means homes with good scores are evaluated in minutes and bid on, often sight unseen, in order to beat rivals to any remaining bargains in the market. While in many ways it's a sign of a slightly healthier market, since the low hanging fruit of foreclosures and short sales have begun to dry up over the last few years, the practice recalls computer-aided trading (when has that ever gone wrong?) and the dreaded B-word, and can drive up the cost of rental properties.

"Siri, can you find me a home under $300k?" >>