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Moody's Launches CRE Data Network As Potential Competitor To CoStar

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The commercial real estate data sector has long been dominated by D.C.-based CoStar Group, but a new network, launched this week by Moody's Analytics, appears poised to take on the industry leader.

7 WTC
The 7 World Trade Center office building, where Moody's Analytics is headquartered

Moody's Analytics, a subsidiary of financial services giant Moody's Corp., this week announced the launch of the Real Estate Information Services Network with the stated goal of becoming a leading commercial real estate data source. 

The network combines several applications from Moody's companies and partners to provide users with property information such as valuation, lease and sales comparisons, mortgage loans and market trends. 

The idea for the network came because Moody's Analytics saw the massive number of PropTech companies launching new tools that solve individual problems in the real estate industry, but identified a need for a service to bring them together in one place.

"The biggest challenge, when we talked to customers, was the fact that everybody's taking this narrow slice," Moody's Analytics Accelerator Executive Director Keith Berry told Bisnow Thursday. "The thing we stumbled upon was: Could we bring these tools together using modern technologies to provide a more seamless customer experience?" 

The launch follows Moody's $278M acquisition of CRE data provider REIS Inc. in August. The new platform will combine REIS data with information from additional Moody's partners, including Compstak and Rockport VAL, both of which it invested in in 2017. Moody's plans to partner with additional companies to add new applications to the network going forward. 

Users of the REIS Network will search for a property through a single portal and will then be presented with all of the information available on that property from each of the various data sources. They will require individual subscriptions to each of the services to view the data, but Moody's has heard feedback that customers want a single, bundled subscription and is working to make that available. 

CompStak CEO Michael Mandel, Executive Director David Peterson and CTO Vadim Belobrovka
CompStak CEO Michael Mandel, Executive Director David Peterson and Chief Technology Officer Vadim Belobrovka

Compstak CEO Michael Mandel has also seen the problem of how spread out PropTech solutions have been, and thinks the network to bring them together will be valuable to commercial real estate professionals.  

"To the extent you can access all the different information in one place and bring it together in a meaningful way, you can provide a ton of value for customers," Mandel said. "We're excited to see how it grows and hopefully more partners come onto the network and it becomes more valuable." 

Berry said the goal of the network is to bring in more partners going forward and add to the amount of data available in the platform. 

"There is so much innovation happening in the space and so many interesting things happening," Berry said. "The network becomes more valuable as we add new perspectives and as we add new data feeds and pieces of information." 

But the more widespread the network becomes, the more competition it could create with CoStar, the $14B company that has collected commercial real estate data for over 30 years. Some view it as having a monopoly on the industry.

"The way I think about it is there are areas where we perhaps overlap with CoStar, but our objective is to help customers with challenges they've got, rather than to target market participants," Berry said. 

CoStar, which declined to comment for this story, has a history of filing lawsuits against other companies in the space. CoStar's lawsuit of its onetime largest competitor, Xceligent — which CompStak had previously partnered with — led to the company shutting down in late 2017. CoStar also sued Compstak users in 2014 for improperly uploading CoStar data, so Mandel has experience going against the industry's behemoth. 

"CoStar is known for their anticompetitive behavior, and that's just a reality you face when you're in this industry," Mandel said. "But we focus on getting the best data we can and building the best platform we can and don't really spend our days and nights thinking about the threat of CoStar. I don't think that's a way to build a business."