Redfin has partnered with the US government at the White House to launch its latest data-driven tool Opportunity Score which helps Americans find housing with easy access to jobs.
Based on Walk Score, an existing Redfin tool which helps you locate a place to live within walking distance of all your amenities, Opportunity Score locates houses or apartments within a 30-minute commute of work, even for someone who doesn’t own a car.
The new tool is the culmination of collaborative 'hackathon' launched by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
It combines White House opportunity data, Redfin data on home sales and rentals and mobility data from Walk Score and Transit Score to pinpoint housing within easy reach of job centers or opportunities for employment within easy reach of home.
Participants included developers, data scientists and engineers from the private and non-profit sectors as well as subject-matter experts across a variety of disciplines. Redfin’s Eric Scharnhorst led Opportunity Score’s design based on Walk Score infrastructure.
“We’re hopeful that Opportunity Score and other tools born of this initiative can help people make informed decisions about where they live and give more families the opportunity to thrive,” says Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson.
Richardson asserts economic mobility isn’t always determined by skill, education or luck.
"Your ZIP code can play a role, too. Opportunity Score identifies neighborhoods within a 30-minute walk, bike ride or transit trip to employment centers where jobs pay $40,000 a year or more," she says.
The Opportunity Score tool includes information about the price of housing.
“Affordability is a growing challenge, one we see first hand as a real estate brokerage helping people buy and sell homes,” Richardson adds.
“But the price of a home or the cost of rent is only part of the equation. People want a home where they can have a reasonable commute to work, participate in the community and access opportunities that can provide a better future for their children.”
Opportunity Score is still in development as Redfin builds its prototype to scale.
"At Redfin, we measure homebuyer demand, pinpoint the best day to market a home, and predict which houses will sell quickly, information that helps our customers and informs the broader housing market," Richardson says.
"Opportunity Score will join our existing arsenal of tools, including Walk Score and Transit Score, to empower the public and help people understand what it’s like to live in a particular neighborhood.
"Combined, these tools can help people make choices that can have great impact on quality of life and long-term outcomes for their families.
"When the government and private sector join forces to harness and mine big data, we can build great things," she says.