I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Author of Sherlock Holmes stories
The ability to gather and interpret market data is paramount to making intelligent business decisions. In Southern Nevada, the window to identify and act on new opportunities based off CRE data is incredibly short, especially in the commercial and industrial markets. This makes the ability to quickly access relevant data about these deals vital to success. For the CRE sector, the amount of information and data services that people have access to regarding land acquisitions, new construction projects, geographic / demographic / economic growth trends and the identification of new business opportunities has never been greater. The question now is, how do you know if the data you have access to is accurate, timely, and will provide what you need in order expand your business?
Currently there are several options available to access local data regarding these deals.
For the Southern Nevada market, some of the firms that advertise the ability to provide data on real estate transactions include: LoopNet, Propertyline, Costar, Commercialsearch and Xceligent. These services can provide valuable information about CRE transactions or availability, but vary greatly in the in-house research and reporting they provide.
The services on LoopNet and Propertyline provide accurate and timely CRE data regarding available land or properties for purchase or lease but only pull from existing lists provided by their subscribers, so they lack the in-house market research and reporting that full-service sites provide. Costar and Xceligent do this as well, but are both researched platforms that provide transactional information, proprietary customizable marketing tools, in-house reporting, etc. Thus, they are more full-service providers. Commercialsearch is a data feed that pulls directly from Xceligent, so it is quasi researched, but only the listing information shows, not the rest of the suite. Each one of these sites has a monthly subscription for access except for Commercialsearch which is free.
The CRE data industry started when Costar was first to market 31 years ago and created quarterly information books to sell to brokers back in the late 80’s. They quickly became the market standard as there were no other services available that could provide timely accurate CRE data to brokers. During the dotcom boom in the late 90’s there were 30-40 companies that tried to compete in this space on a local and national level, but Costar was able to continue as market leader and many of them shut down. Locally, Propertyline made it through the boom and provided an easy way to track projects at a significantly lower cost. What really made it great was that it was designed for everyone, regardless of size. Whether you were at a national firm like CBRE or a local broker that ran his own one man shop you posted your listing on Propertyline. Xceligent and Loopnet also made it out of the dotcom boom but unlike Propertyline, their data was for multiple markets across the country. In 2007, Loopnet purchased Xceligent to be a direct competitor to Costar. However, in 2011 Costar attempted to buy Loopnet and the FTC required that Xceligent be rolled out of the deal to prevent Costar from having a monopoly on the CRE data market. As a result, Xceligent and Costar are the two full-service firms that cover the Southern Nevada market while the other services are more transaction based search engines.
When comparing pricing and market coverage, Costar is the industry giant, has the most coverage, and ranges in price by market but is the most expensive by a wide margin. LoopNet and Xceligent are less expensive than Costar and cover the same geographic range, but Xceligent provides significantly more services to subscribers. Propertyline is the least expensive of the subscription services but only shows listing information for the Las Vegas market which limits the data available on their site.
When it comes down to which one is the right one for you, it really depends on how much data are you looking for, what value the data has versus the subscription cost and the purpose of your usage. For recent buying or sales transactions and property listings, sites like Propertyline, Commercialsearch and LoopNet will provide the data at an affordable price but at the cost of limited market coverage and a lack of specialized reporting. More comprehensive information including economic research, growth trends, and specialized market reports are available on sites like Xceligent and Costar but at a higher cost.
Unlike the residential data which has a standard system (the MLS), CRE acquisition is a highly competitive market with multiple providers competing for the fastest and most accurate way to acquire new data and provide it to their clients. Everyone in the industry from brokers to appraisers, trash removal companies, owners, developers, land surveyors, GC’s, geo tech, telecommunications, you name it, are using data. Each must first determine the data needed, before effectively choosing a provider.