I’ve often said that one day Google is going to own the planet, or at least the display of and access to the world’s data”¦
From Jonathan Miller, a New York real estate appraiser, analyst and blogger (and one of the smartest and nicest guys I’ve ever met) comes this little gem ”“ Google Maps of foreclosure listings (via ChartPorn).
Apparently buried in the bazillion pages, products and services that Google has is a feature that displays foreclosure listings on a Google Map. Here is an example of (most of) the Phoenix metro area:
Every one of those red dots represents a foreclosed home that is listed for sale. Click on the image above and you can pan and zoom in and out ”“ and you’ll see that a lot of those dots at the above zoom level lie on top of each other.
I emphasize “foreclosures listed for sale” because it is important to understand these maps do not include: 1)
homes that are in the foreclosure process but not yet formally foreclosed on (see update below); 2) homes that have been foreclosed on but not yet listed for sale; 3) homes listed as short sales; or 4) homes in eminent danger of entering the foreclosure process. Add homes in these categories onto the map and it’s more likely to look like this”¦
Yes, I made that up. Maybe it’s an exaggeration”¦
The point is these Google Maps, ugly as they may be, don’t show the entire foreclosure story,
Another issue with the maps, as Jonathan points out, is they provide no historical perspective. They are merely snapshots in a moment of time. We can’t tell from the map if there were more (or less) red dots of death six days, six months or six years ago nor can we hypothesize what they may look like in the future.
But they are kind of cool, and they do provide a visual way to see the number of bank owned homes listed for sale across the country. Check your area out and see how you compare to other cities across the country. It may be enlightening. Or frightening. (Go to http://maps.google.com/. Click “Show search options”. Select “real estate” from the drop down menu. Enter a city in the search bar then select “Foreclosures” for the Listing Type).
And if you’re not reading Jonathan Miller’s blog Matrix, you are missing a real gem in the real estate blog world. Here is a fantastic podcast Jonathan did with Rick Sharga, Senior Vice President, RealtyTrac ”“ one of (if not the) leading sources for foreclosure data and analysis. In the podcast they cover the Google foreclosure maps, foreclosure shadow inventory, robo-signing, the affect of the homebuyer tax credit, short sales, loan modification programs, and a load of frightening statistics.
UPDATE: Tiffany Cloud pointed out in the comments that she found some properties mapped that were not listed for sale but had received a Notice of Trustee Sale (the first real step in the foreclosure process in Arizona). So there are at least some (no way to know what percentage without physically counting dots) homes in the foreclosure process shown on the map. I know they aren’t all there as my old neighbor got his Notice of Trustee Sale back in April and it’s been extended multiple times and it is not on the map. Carmen Brodeur also mentioned in the comments that some properties that are listed as bank owned aren’t mapping. The data set is far from perfect. Google is pulling from multiple sources and there isn’t one definitive source for all this info. There are many examples of properties being listed twice. Here’s a screen shot of a property that is under Notice of Sale but not listed for sale. Of note, not all properties that receive a Notice of Sale will actually go into foreclosure.