Skip to main content


Selected Resources for Real Estate Research

Maps and Mapping resources

The resources below are good for finding maps of a geographic area, plotting information on a map, or for finding economic and demographic information searching by geographic area. Geographic areas can include state, county, city, MSA, area code, zip code, census tracts, census blocks and more.

Subscription resources.

While UNC-Chapel Hill pays for these resources, use is limited by contract to UNC-Chapel Hill students, faculty and staff for classroom and academic research only. Commercial use and republication of the raw data are prohibited.

PolicyMap is an online data and mapping tool that enables government, commercial, non-profit and academic institutions to access data about communities and markets across the US. Use it for research, market studies, business planning, site selection, grant applications and impact analysis. UNC has a subscription that allows users to upload data they have collected from other sources to be added to maps created by PolicyMap for maping in layers.

SimplyAnalytics Formerly SimplyMap  A web-based mapping application that enables users to quickly and easily create professional-quality thematic maps and reports using extensive demographic, business and marketing data. Variables include demographics, housing, income, retail sales, consumer expenditures, consumer price index, quality of life, employment and establishments by industry and more. Export high resolution map images. Data can be exported in spreadsheet or shapefile format. The data is from EASI Analytics, Mediamark Research Inc., Simmons Study of Media Markets, and is also derived from U.S. Census and other government and nongovernmental sources. Changed name to SimplyAnalytics June 29, 2017.

Social Explorer Provides web-based access to United States census and other data from 1790 to the present with interactive maps and reports. Data include the most commonly used variables and geographies

ESRI Business Analyst Online “Esri Business Analyst Online (BAO) is a Web-based solution that makes custom site evaluation and market analysis fast and easy. Utilizing extensive demographic, consumer spending, and business data, BAO provides detailed information and insights about consumers, their lifestyles and buying behavior, and businesses in your market area.
Note: Use is limited to students and faculty as needed for classes and research projects undertaken as part of coursework for a degree program.

Note: To use Business Analyst Online, you will need to create an Organizational ArcGIS Online Account. To create an account:

1. “Sign in”
2. “Your ArcGIS organization’s URL” (under ArcGIS login):
3. Click “Continue” then “UNC Chapel Hill SSO”
4. Sign in with your Onyen

A commercial version of ESRI is available at a “free trial” is available.

Open Access or Commercial resources.

These are resources for which no subscription is required or for which UNC-CH does not have a needed subscription.

NC OneMap GeoSpatial Portal a free public service providing comprehensive discovery of North Carolina’s essential geospatial data.

Google Maps Maps and satellite images, can layer business by selected types. Can also get point to point directions .

MapQuest Maps and satellite images, can layer business by selected types. Can also get point to point directions.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Geospatial Program, The National Map A listing of maps available from the U.S. Geological Service. Maps are mainly topographic.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Geologic Map Database A catalog of more than 100,000 maps from the US Geological Survey and the Association of American State Geographers. Some maps are available online some are not.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Resources Conservation Service Soils  Maps and surveys of soil content.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Geodetic Survey (NGS) An Agency of NOAA  provides Aerial photograph survey near airports and coastal regions; maps and charts specifically for transportation and navigation, and standards for geodetic systems

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Satellite and Information Service (NOAASIS) The NOAASIS web site is a central location for finding information about NOAA environmental satellites (GOES and POES). Information is provided by various contributors within the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) and the external satellite community. This site provides information of particular interest to users who operate their own direct readout receiving stations.

FEMA Flood Map Service Center from the website “The FEMA Flood Map Service Center (MSC) is the official public source for flood hazard information produced in support of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Use the MSC to find your official flood map, access a range of other flood hazard products, and take advantage of tools for better understanding flood risk.”

Rockford Map Publishers This is NOT a free resource. A leading provider of plat maps and spatial data for commercial markets, public agencies and recreationists.

Spot Image  This is NOT a free resource. A source for purchase of high resolution Optical satellite images for cartography, defense, agriculture, identifying cadastral parcels, urban planning, telecommunications, the environment, and disaster management.


The resources below are good for finding statistics on the real estate industry.

All are open access or fee based resources for which UNC-CH does not have a subscription.

U.S. Census Bureau Base or Homepage for finding all data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau. Some of the more interesting sections of the Census Bureau’s data are below

  • “Quick Facts” Compare quick facts on population by age, race, and gender, housing, education, health, economy, transportation, income and poverty, numbers of businesses for up to 6 geographic areas defined by state county, city, town, or zip code.
  • https// As of July 1, 2019 became the primary way to access Census Bureau data, including upcoming releases from the 2018 American Community Survey, 2017 Economic Census, 2020 Census and more. As of July 1, 2019, all new data (previously released on American FactFinder) is being released on this new data platform. This resource provides data from most US Census Bureau surveys and programs. Access data from the American Community Survey, the Decennial Census, the Economic Census, annual Population Estimates, and annual economic surveys.
  • Census of Housing A wide range of data on the size, age and type of American homes; home values, rents and mortgages, the housing and construction industry, and more. From the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • American Housing Survey (AHS) The American Housing Survey is among the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. Housing conditions and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. Data available includes: National and metropolitan data on residential vacancies, number of rooms, rents, mobile homes, median value of home and occupancy demographics.
  • Business & Industry Construction A Guide to Data Sources and surveys for the “Construction” industry from the U.S. Census Bureau. Data and surveys include Building permits, New residential construction, Manufactured housing, Construction price indexes, Characteristics of new housing and more.
  • Historical Housing Tables Historical information on select housing issues including Crowding, Gross Rents, Home Values, and more. Tables cover 1940 to 2000
  • Income & Poverty Statistics on income and poverty over time and by geographic areas.
  • U.S. Census Bureau Reference Maps Look at the “Reference Maps section for maps with selected boundaries and orienting features such as roads, rivers and lakes. Chose a state then select a “geography type” for which you want the boundaries displayed on the map. Geography types  include: cities, counties, congressional districts, and more.
  • TIGER: Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing TIGER products are spatial extracts from the Census Bureau’s MAF/TIGER database, containing features such as roads, railroads, rivers, as well as legal and statistical geographic areas. The Census Bureau offers several file types and an online mapping application.

U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Web page of the agency links to programs, regulations, and statistics. including:

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster, disaster preparedness, and disaster recovery information from the Department of Homeland Security. Important sections include:

  • FEMA Flood Map Service Center: The FEMA Flood Map Service Center (MSC) is the official public source for flood hazard information produced in support of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Use the MSC to find your official flood map, access a range of other flood hazard products, and take advantage of tools for better understanding flood risk.
  • FEMA Reference Materials Disaster and disaster preparedness information from FEMA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • FEMA Data Visualization A series of data visualization tools that allow users to explore FEMA data including disaster declarations, housing assistance, flood risk and cost, and fire incidents, though maps, charts, and graphs.

Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) An interagency body empowered to prescribe uniform principles, standards, and report forms for the federal examination of financial institutions, including fair lending laws and regulations.

  • FFIEC Home Mortgage Dosclosure Act Public loan data is collected that can be used to assist in determining whether financial institutions are serving the housing needs of their communities, public officials in distributing public-sector investments so as to attract private investment to areas where it is needed and in identifying possible discriminatory lending patterns
  • FFIEC Community Reinvestment Act  is intended to encourage depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate. Find statistics, ratings examinations, and regulations and interpretations
  • FFIEC Geocode Find  brief population, income, and housing statistics for the Census Tract that a specific address is in and see location of the addresses on a map.

U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS)  Great sources for United States Tax laws, rules, regulations, statistics, publications, and forms. Each state will also have their own laws, rules, regulations, statistics, publications, and forms.

Builder Online News and statistics on the home building industry including home sale predictions vital economic statistics for the home building industry. Related to “Remodeling Online”

Remodeling Online Current news and tips for construction and remodeling. Directory of products and a “how-to” section. related to “Builder Online”

Professional and Trade Associations

The resources below are Trade and Professional Associations, advisory firms, or think tank type organizations and are a highly recommended source of are good for analytical reports and news on the real estate industry. One way to find these types of organizations is to use your favorite search engine and add the term “association” or “think tank” to an industry name. However some associations will only give information and statistics to their members. There is no way to know without contacting them. 

All are open access or fee based resources for which UNC-CH does not have a subscription.

National Association of Realtors (NAR) A major association for “Realtors” and great source of industry news, regulations, statistics and much more. 2 important sections are:

National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREI)  News and Stats on REITSs most information is free.

National Association of Home Builders News, Advice, statistics, and industry reports for home builders and consumers.

NAOIP : Commercial Real Estate Development Association Pay particular attention to the “Research and Publications” tab where you can find a collection of reports on the commercial real estate industry and to the “Education and Career” tab for an online and downloadable dictionary of terms frequently used in the industry.

Wealth Managemnet.Com Real Estate news for the real estate investor focusing on commercial real estate finance, develo[pmnet, and leasing. With their own stories and links to stories in other publications.Wealth


Bluebook International Provides a series of reports covering residential replacement cost estimates, risk analysis and other property valuation information. Some information is free some you have to pay for.

CBRE Econometric Advisors (formerly CB Richard Ellis) News, reports, tools and services for commercial real estate  firms and for finding and managing commercial real estate most material you must register and / or pay for.

Craftsman National Appraisal Estimator (formerly A valuation software to produce estimates of home construction, renovation, and replacement cost estimates including materials, design, quality, size, shape, heating, cooling, and geographic area. This is NOT a free resource

Cushman & Wakefield MarketBeat Snapshot Check under the Insights tab for reports and analysis of various sectors of the real estate industry. The main landing page is global coverage and ther are more than 50 “country” pages that focus on real estate in the ose countries.

Dodge Data & Analytics News, reports, tools and services for construction firms and for finding and managing construction projects most material you must register for or pay for.

Integra Realty Resources: IRR  Reports, news, and services related to real estate some material is free most you have to pay for.

Urban Land Institute Organization dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of real estate and land use issues and policies around the world. Has many publications and studies available some are free some are not.

SITUS RERC Real Estate Research Corporation (RERC) Offers property valuation advisory services. Not much if anything for free or without registering.

Korpacz Realty Advisor Inc. a real estate advisory firm includes a number of articles and publications on real estate. Main purpose of the firm is to provide real estate advisory services for a fee.

PWC Real Estate Publications PWC library of reports on the real estate industry some are free some you have to pay for.

Zonda  (formerly MetroStudy a Hanley-Wood company)  print and video news on the real estate industry some free most you have to pay for.

Additional Professional and trade associations and think tanks related to the real estate industry that are not included above but may still have interesting information.

All are open access or fee based resources for which UNC-CH does not have a subscription.

Property Listings

The resources below all have listings of properties for sale or lease.

All are open access or fee based resources for which UNC-CH does not have a subscription.

42 Floors Previous 30 days of commercial, office, retail, medical industrial, “live/work” real estate listings for more than 50 major markets around the United States. There “submarkets” available for most of the “major” markets. Data available includes street address, descriptions of the property, and listing agent and firm.

LoopNet Search listings of commercial property available for sale or lease. Available property types includes; multifamily, retail, industrial, office, land, agricultural, hospitality, health care, senior housing, sports & entertainment, and residential income properties.

SquareFoot Listings of commercial and class A and B office space available for lease in 12 metropolitan areas: New York NY, Houston, TX, Dallas TX, Austin TX, Los Angeles CA, San Diego CA, Washington DC, Chicago IL, Phoenix AZ, Charlotte NC, Atlanta GA, and Baltimore MD. Search tools allow users to limit by size (based on number of employees), budget, and time frame of lease (how long you want the lease to run) and when you want to move in. Includes a interesting “commute calculator” that lets users click on a map to note where employees work and it will estimate commute times to selected office location. This resources REQUIRES users submit an email address and phone number to retrieve data.

Trulia Real time or near real time real residential real estate listings will also let users find information about the area around a specific property.

Zillow Real time or near real time real residential real estate listings will also let users find information about the area around a specific property.

Colliers International Market Reports Contains commercial property listings. Also has free quarterly reports on economic activity especially on commercial property industry. Includes reports on city, national and international markets.

Marcus & Millichap Group News and reports on real estate industry must register to see full text. Also has searchable investment property listings

Real Estate Exchange Site is geared towards and facilitates property owners who want to “exchange” property. There are listing of properties available for exchange and a collection of articles on the mechanics and strategies of real estate exchanges.

JLL (formerly Jones Lang LaSalle) JLL has listing of property for sale or lease. There are also reports and news about real estate industry viewable only after registration.

Real Capital Markets Main free feature is commercial property listings. Per their description “Real Capital Markets (RCM) provides principals, exclusive listing brokers, mortgage bankers, and equity sources the most productive and cost effective way to acquire, dispose, finance and capitalize commercial real estate.” There is not much else free and you must be “qualified investor” and you have to register.

RealtyTrac a source of property listings for property under foreclosure.

Education and Career

The resources below are good for career education, and professional development information.

All are open access or fee based resources for which UNC-CH does not have a subscription.

U.S. Occupational Outlook Handbook Great source for finding information on typical duties, educational or work experience / requirements and, forecasted future need for various occupations including real estate professions.  news and information about home, car, business ,student, and personal loans, the section on home loans includes sections on mortgages and applying for mortgages, mortgages rates, and mortgage calculators.

Adventures in CRE A collection of downloadable Real estate financial models, along with information on careers, education and networking in “commercial real estate”

Mortgage Market

These organizations help to make the primary and secondary mortgage markets function more smoothly and efficiently by purchasing or insuring mortgages initiated by other lenders.

All are open access or fee based resources for which UNC-CH does not have a subscription.

Federal National Mortgage Association aka FNMA aka Fannie Mae Online tools, rules, guidelines, and secondary mortgage services.

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation aka FHLMC aka Freddie Mac Corporate services and information on residential secondary mortgage market information and earnings.

Government National Mortgage Association aka GNMA aka Ginnie Mae  “For 50 years Ginnie Mae has provided liquidity and stability, serving as the principal financing arm for government mortgage loans and ensuring that mortgage lenders have the necessary funds to provide loans to customers”


Selected Journals on the Real Estate industry.

For UNC Chapel Hill students and faculty access to the full-text of articles may be possible through the university library’s “Online Journals” search page. Type the title of the journal you are interested in reading and if it is available you will get a list of the databases that UNC-Chapel Hill subscribes to that contain at least some full text of the journal.

  • Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics
  • Real Estate Economics – AUREA Journal
  • Journal of Real Estate Portfolio Management

Unclassified resources that have at least some free information.

All are open access or fee based resources for which UNC-CH does not have a subscription.

S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home Price Indices Leading measures of home prices and tracking changes in prices in 20 metro areas. Along with press releases related to the indices.

Moody’s Credit ratings and reports some free most you have to pay for.


The most recent update of this page was on October 24, 2023

If you have any questions please contact