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I need a table that will map each US zip code to the average price of commercial real estate (office space) in that zip code. It doesn't matter to me if the prices are to rent or to buy. It also doesn't matter if the figure is limited to just office space or if it includes all commercial real estate. What does matter is that the same thing is measured in each zip code, so that I have an apples-to-apples comparison.

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I'm the head researcher for a commerical real estate brokerage firm. I don't know of a perfect source for what you are looking for, but here are some proxys you might try

Paid option: Costar http://www.costar.com/ has what some of what you want, but they are a pay-for service. From time to time I've heard of them gifting data access for research purposes. I don't think they cover the entire US, and they only look at CRE above a certain dollar size (something like $5,000)

Free option: Craigslist Scrape craigslist.org for office building listings. The URL's are fairly easy to generate for scrapping; for example, I can download the first 100 office spaces listed in New York at the URL http://newyork.craigslist.org/search/off

If you add "?s=100" to the end of that URL (i.e., "http://newyork.craigslist.org/search/off?s=100"), you get listings 100-199 out of 2500. By incrementally changing the "off?s=x" part, you can get all 2500.

Of course, c-listings will on average be smaller properties, but I bet the coverage is pretty good and the bias will be consistent across geographies.

Update: Scraping all base URL's from the about page

If you use R, here's a way to use rvest() to scrape all of the base URL's from the clist about page:

library(rvest)
url <- "http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites"
aboutclist <- read_html(url)
aboutclist %>% html_nodes(".colmask:nth-child(4) a") %>% html_attr("href")

Will return a list of URL's like:

[1] "//auburn.craigslist.org/"          "//bham.craigslist.org/"           
  [3] "//dothan.craigslist.org/"          "//shoals.craigslist.org/"         
  [5] "//gadsden.craigslist.org/"         "//huntsville.craigslist.org/"     
  [7] "//mobile.craigslist.org/"          "//montgomery.craigslist.org/"     
  • Thanks for responding. Ideally I'm looking for a free solution. The Craigslist idea is interesting, but unfortunately Craigslist doesn't provide the zip code, and I need this information for all zip codes. – Mike W Sep 18 '16 at 20:55
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    Cragslist does have the option to filter by zip code, at least in some places. The URL looks like: newyork.craigslist.org/search/off?postal=10001 . It would take some work to figure out all the possible URL's but it could be done! – Tim_K Sep 19 '16 at 14:13
  • not to be rude here at all, but this is open data se, so every solution should be open, not just "ideally". tim's answer is perfect, providing more than one solution, but just feel inclined to point out that paid is not open. – albert Sep 19 '16 at 17:13
  • valid point albert! I wonder if Open Data SE should post that somewhere to make it absolutely clear? Or maybe it's completely obvious to everyone but me ;) – Tim_K Sep 19 '16 at 23:16

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