Skip to main content

How to Use Housing Data on Your Beat

About This Course

Housing stories aren’t always about real estate. In this free Webinar, a housing economist will introduce you to the sexiest dataset she’s ever met, and show you how to use it to tell stories about your community. You'll learn how to unlock stories about crime, culture, politics and much more with free housing metrics available online.

Think for a moment about stories in your community in which housing plays a part. Can the middle class afford the rent? Are people of color able to get a mortgage? Where are the "sweet spots"- where jobs are plentiful and housing is cheap? Which neighborhoods are gentrifying, and what does that mean for culture and crime? In this Webinar, you'll find out how to make sense of all this information.

What Will I Learn?

  • About housing data available on Zillow and how to download it in a usable form, all the way down to the ZIP code or neighborhood level.
  • How to mix publicly available data from Zillow, the Census, local government and various federal agencies to reveal stories about your community.
  • Housing statistics 101: new and existing home sales, the Case Shiller index, negative equity… what do they mean, and how should each be used?
  • How to sort through available housing data to find out what is best for the story you’re trying to tell. Discover the differences between all those median rent and median home-value metrics.

Who Should Take this Course?

Reporters, producers, designers, developers and graphic artists who are interested in building web apps about trends and stories in their coverage areas. Business reporters who want to become more sophisticated in their coverage of residential real estate. Metro reporters from various beats who want enterprise-story ideas and help knowing how to fill out stories with reliable housing metrics and statistics.

Course Instructor

Skylar Olsen

Skylar Olsen

Skylar Olsen is a senior economist at Zillow. Her research is used by consumers, policy makers, and other researchers to understand real estate markets and make better decisions. While authoring works such as A House Divided – How Race Colors the Path to Homeownership and numerous other Zillow research projects, she also creates many of Zillow’s real estate indices and metrics, including the Buyer-Seller Index and the Buy-Rent Breakeven Horizon. Skylar also heads the economic research team at Zillow affiliate, StreetEasy, in New York. She holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Washington specializing in econometrics and environmental economics. Her academic work focused on using housing data to explore environmental issues. Prior to her work at Zillow, Skylar was honored for teaching excellence by the University of Washington.




Zillow is the leading real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to empowering consumers with data, inspiration and knowledge around the place they call home, and connecting them with the best local professionals who can help. Zillow Research is an industry-leading economics and analytics bureau that produces extensive housing data and research covering more than 450 markets. Zillow Research produces rich data reports on a quarterly and monthly basis, using Zillow's database of 110 million homes to look at rental and for-sale values, affordability, negative equity, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What web browser should I use?

The Open edX platform works best with current versions of Chrome, Firefox or Safari, or with Internet Explorer version 9 and above.

See our list of supported browsers for the most up-to-date information.