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Looking for an apartment? AreaVibes and Big Data to the Rescue

Toronto city-ranking website AreaVibes has added an apartment rental engine to its already existing “livability score” ranking system.

Toronto city-ranking website AreaVibes has added an apartment rental engine to its already existing “livability score” ranking system. Toronto city-ranking website AreaVibes has added an apartment rental engine to its already existing “livability score” ranking system, providing an image of the building and a link containing contact information for sealing the deal.

Prior to today, the website came in handy as an auxiliary service for rating a city and/or neighbourhood according to a variety of metrics, including amenities, cost of living, crime, access to education, employment and housing, as well as weather.

While the ability to rank a place according to broad range of characteristics provided a nice-to-have service, making for irresistibly fun activities such as determining the worst place to live in America, the added rental functionality moves AreaVibes closer to providing a one-stop-shop for people looking for accommodations in the United States.

Crunching information via a self-developed algorithm, and drawing on statistics taken from the US Census, Google Places, FBI Uniform Crime Reports, the Council for Community and Economic Research, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the National Weather Service, AreaVibes scores places down to the granular level of a particular intersection or zip code within a given city.

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However, your idea of what makes a good neighbourhood may not be the same as everyone else’s, which is where AreaVibes’ customizable search comes in handy. While for some the idea of living downtown is appealing, many others enjoy the peaceful feeling of living in the suburbs and don’t mind the commute. Likewise, a place that scores very high for amenities might also score high on crime, explaining the low rents in that area relative to other parts of town.

“As users navigate the rental map, the Livability Score updates accordingly,” said AreaVibes CEO Jon Russo. “Then, as they select specific apartments, the Livability Score for that specific apartment is also included. Finding a great apartment in a great area is a common goal and this search engine can help anyone do that anywhere in the United States.”

The Livability Score also allows you to compare areas, helping to winnow your choice if you’re contemplating a move to the US, but need more information before pulling the trigger on signing a lease. The map gives you a pretty good idea of what a neighbourhood is like, and also a way of ensuring that your basic needs are met. Is there a gym nearby? An Indian take-away restaurant? Grocery stores? Book and/or record shops? These generally are visible on the AreaVibes map, with actual listings of apartments for rent in the column on the left.

Keeping users in-app, and able to satisfy all of a user’s needs without the need to consult third-party sites and/or applications, is a major challenge for site and app developers these days. Adding an apartment rental function to its area ranking system raises that degree of stickiness for AreaVibes.

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