July 18, 2006
Bubble Map comments reveal surprising price corrections
If you visit their map and view the properties, you'll read some interesting comments including two favorites: (1) A stunning $530,000 gap between a 2005 assessment and 2006 sales price; and (2) a long post comparing the present market to pre-9/11 slump). After logging-in, you can write your own comments, add your own properties, or create your own map.
Thanks to WestSideBubble and another new user, SoldAtThePeak for their thoughtful contributions. We're open to your ideas about how to use this experimental map and wiki to protect homebuyers in overheated housing markets, in Boston and across the US. Over the next ten days, we'll add another 119 properties to the Boston bubble map showing locations of homes sold below their assessed value in Greater Boston during June 2006. Your contributions are welcome, too.)
July 15, 2006
1st user documents falling housing prices on Bubble Map
The first user has added two local properties to an experimental Real Estate Bubble Map created by The Real Estate Cafe to involve consumers in the process of tracking falling housing prices. Located at 21 and 30 Walker Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the contributions document an emerging trend: both sales prices and asking prices are falling below assessed values in once overheated housing markets in Greater Boston. Despite the prevailing myth is that housing prices never fall in Cambridge, the city is among 66 housing markets that have experienced significant price corrections over the past two decades. 21 Walker St. sold recently for approximately $150,000 below its assessed value; and the asking price at 30 Walker St. has fallen more than $110,000 below it's assessed value. That property went under agreement in 11 days in 2003 when it sold for $1,275,000. After six months on the market, the asking price is now $50,000 less than the sales price three years ago. (See comments on map for more detail on both properties and approximately 150 others in Greater Boston)
Both Walker Street properties are in walking distance to Harvard University, where an "Un-Conference" on Citizen Journalism will be held, Monday, August 7, 2006. It is hoped that other house hunters will create local bubble maps to protect fellow home buyers from overpaying in "extremely overvalued" housing markets nationwide.
July 11, 2006
Coauthoring the opposite of crime maps
Reading MLPodcast's interview with Platial.Com Co-Founder Di-Ann Eisnor, what excites me about Platial is the opportunity for anyone to map what they LOVE about their neighborhoods and communities. As housing markets slide into downcycles across the country, consumers will make homebuying decisions less on financial return and more on quality of life. That's where interactive, community mapping comes in.
But the transparency that Web 2.0 enables also comes with a "dark side," so here's a challenge / invitation:
It's discouraging for me to see how much attention the Chicago Crime map is getting, not because it isn't a brilliant web 2.0 application but because it focuses on the worst of humanity. Some of us have begun to talk about creating the "opposite of crime maps." If there are dozens of types of crime that can be mapped, shouldn't there be at least that many ways to map "social capital" or good old-fashioned neighborliness?
My guess is that organizations like NeighborWorks have already created a typology of community assets, but wouldn't it be fun to invite ordinary people, like those Platial attracts, to help create some kind of "folksonomy" of tags that capture the friendliness, uniqueness, and richness (measured in generosity of spirit not housing values) of their neighborhoods and communities?
If others are interested, two dates might be considered for organizing such a grassroots campaign, which could include both real estate consumers and professionals:
1. Dan Gillmor, author of We the Media and founder & director of the Center for Citizen Media, is convening a Citizen Journalism Un-Conference in Boston / Cambridge at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School on August 7, 2006; and
2. A week later, August 14th is the halfway point to Valentine's Day. Maybe it's never been celebrated before, but why not create a day to celebrate summer romances? It's no accident that Platial attracts hopeless romantics, so why not use that date to invite neighbors to say what they LOVE about their communities, too? (Afterall, Worcester, Massachusetts is the home of the modern Valentine in America and both the novel and movie, Love Story, were set at Harvard Law School, so why shouldn't Cambridge be the birthplace of the first annual celebration of Half Valentine's Day?)
Could be a great way to begin aggregating "the opposite of crime maps" around the country or at least a demonstration project here in Boston / Cambridge in conjunction with WikiMania.