New York Times Real Estate API

Bill Albright
Apr. 13 2009, 03:08AM EDT

It's often said that in New York City everything comes down to real estate. The tenth API to emerge from the New York Times developer network addresses this topic with pricing data for the five borough's residential properties. The announcement states that the Real Estate API "offers aggregate data divided into two sets: listings and actual sale prices. You can get the number ("counts") of listings and sales per ZIP code, neighborhood and borough, for various building types and date ranges. You can also get percentile prices for listings and sales per ZIP code, neighborhood and borough, again for various building types and time periods." More details at our new New York Times Real Estate API profile.

The sales data is from public information going back to 2003, and the listing data comes from the Times own classifieds. Unlike condo and home properties, until recently co-op sale prices were not public information. But now that data is also reported by the NYC Department of Finance, which makes the aggregate statistics meaningful. The API doesn't return individual sales or listings, although with the options to limit by neighborhood, building type, and year built a developer could narrow down to a small set of buildings.

Like the earlier nine APIs we profiled recently, the API offers a RESTful interface that returns JSON, XML, or serialized PHP as in this format:

New York Times Real Estate API

The API would be more useful if one could drill down from a result set into individual listings or sales, but like any well-constructed API there is a version number, so perhaps that feature will appear later. Right now it seems the API would be most appropriate in mashups showing how neighborhoods or types of properties are faring generally over time, and for getting rough comparables when pricing or bidding on a Gotham dwelling. Or if you just want to experience programmatically the schadenfreude of watching New York City follow the rest of the country with prices falling over the cliff.

Bill Albright

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