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Using social media to predict gentrification in neighborhoods

By Mike Wheatley | May 2, 2016

As real estate agents its your job to keep abreast of all the changes in your local neighborhoods. There are many ways of doing so, one of the most obvious being word of mouth. But now, it seems that “word of mouth” doesn't mean you have to keep your ear to the ground for the latest gossip.

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According to researchers in the UK, social media offers a much easier way of keeping up to date with the latest gossip to see which neighborhoods are hot and which are not. Instead of wasting hours driving around to see things for yourself, or eavesdropping on other's conversations in the local Starbucks, the researchers says it's more productive to simply monitor posts on Twitter and check-ins on Foursquare, to see how “social diversity” is helping to boost a neighborhood's popularity.

The UK team looked at data from around 37,000 users and 42,000 venues across London, counting more than 500,000 check-ins over a ten month period. Their first batch of data was gathered back in 2010, and they were able to use that to predict the gentrification of London's Hackney district. In addition another four districts were also singled out as being likely to grow by data gathered between 2010 and 2015 – and they did, with researchers saying "house prices rising far above the London average, fast-decreasing crime rate and a highly diverse population."

"If many people start visiting unfamiliar locations in materially-deprived neighborhoods (say, trendy new restaurants) with their friends, that's usually a good sign that these areas will be gentrified before long,” Engadget wrote. “Accordingly, places that are dominated by locals and regulars tend to resist that shift, no matter the income levels."

The researchers say their study can benefit multiple industries. For example, tourists can use the information to find an area where it's easy to meet and mingle with people, or alternatively they can find a more local experience. On the other hand, cities can use the data to better plan growth in a way that boosts real estate values.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected]
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