LendingReal EstateValuationsTechnology Claims contest winners’ algorithm improves Zestimate accuracy The Zestimate that appears on every listing on Zillow is about to get a little closer to the expected sales price of a house, and all the online real estate giant had to do is give away more than $1 million.
According to Zillow, the winning team beat the Zillow benchmark model by approximately 13%.
The winning team includes data scientists and engineers from around the world: Chahhou Mohamed of Morocco, Jordan Meyer of the United States, and Nima Shahbazi of Canada.
As a result of Mohamed, Meyer, and Shahbazi’s efforts to beat the Zestimate, the team will be awarded $1 million.
Beyond that, Zillow also awarded $100,000 to the second-place team, and $50,000 to the third-place team.
Zillow said that it will incorporate parts of the winning team’s model, along with other contest entries, to improve the accuracy of the Zestimate that appears on the listings for 110 million homes on Zillow.
According to Zillow, the improvements to the Zestimate will decrease its current nationwide error rate of 4.5% to less than 4%, meaning that half of all Zestimates will be within 4% of the selling price, and half will be off by more than 4%.
“We’re so proud that the winning team’s huge achievement, and the work of all the teams in the competition, will provide millions of homeowners with a better understanding of one of their biggest life investments.” According to Zillow, the winning team’s algorithm utilized several “sophisticated machine learning techniques, including using deep neural networks to directly estimate home values and remove outlier data points that fed into their algorithm.” Additionally, the winning team made use of publicly-available, external data including rental rates, commute times, and home prices, among other types of contextual information, like road noise, all of which are variables that factor into a home’s estimated value.
“It’s amazing to know that millions of people will benefit from our ideas,” Shahbazi said.
For every idea that worked, there were a hundred that didn't work.