A Sign Of The Times: The First Foreclosure API

Adam DuVander
Nov. 02 2009, 02:22AM EST

The U.S. housing market is still in rough shape. Now there's an API for your applications to see just how bad things are. Using the Foreclosure Listings API, you can search for homes and get details of a foreclosed home (details at our Foreclosure Listings API profile).

Their press release explains some of the API's functionality:

The new ForeclosureListings.com API can be integrated right into an existing website by a programmer and will provide the ten latest foreclosure home listings for any zip code, city, county or state. For anyone with a real estate website, this is a great resource to have and use in conjunction with their site.

By returning only 10 results the API is limiting the types of sites developers can build. This API is not likely to help you aggregate data about a zip code or city--the sample size just isn't large enough. However, it could help you add another layer of information to a map, for example.

XML results from Foreclosure Listings API

The data returned by the API is enough to get a feel for the house's location and some basic amenities. Why the latitude and longitude aren't provided is a mystery, as that would make it even easier to plot results on a map.

In addition to the foreclosure search, there's another potentially handy call. The isforeclosure function accepts an address and returns whether or not that home is in foreclosure.

Like many APIs, there's a limit to the number of calls you can make, in this case you can make up to 1,000 API calls per day without contacting the company. The trade-off is that this data--which is gathered at the local level--is not available from any other API.

There are now the 13 real estate APIs in our directory. It's a surprisingly popular niche of APIs and topic we looked at last year back when there were 7 real estate APIs in our post: What Housing Crisis?.

Adam DuVander -- Adam heads developer relations at Orchestrate, a database-as-a-service company. He's spent many years analyzing APIs and developer tools. Previously he worked at SendGrid, edited ProgrammableWeb and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101.

Comments

Comments(5)

Hi Adam,

I'm Fabio, one of ForeclosureListings.com's developer. We actually do not display lat/long but after read this post we will work on it. It will be available in a day or two.

Please feel free to suggest any other improvements.

Fabio

Hi Adam,

I’m Lairton and I work with Fabio at ForeclosureListings.com. We followed your advice and our API now also provides the latitude and longitude of each foreclosure.

We are open to any other suggests you may have.

Lairton

Awesome API!

The only complaint I have is that you guys are strict-XML. Why not offer JSON as an alternative data format? It's easily the de-facto choice these days when dealing with web APIs (see: Twitter, Facebook, FourSqure, etc).

Any thoughts? I could see some really cool mashups if you added it...