Prepare yourself to be floored:

Google Maps keeps evolving, expanding the ability to drill down into granular detail. The latest updated trick? Mapping foreclosures for sale.

This great and terrible Google trick has been around at least since 2008 — but it seems to have become much more robust earlier this year (See Dregs of the Future‘s post in January 2010).

Our friends at Chart Porn — a blog that got its name from one of our posts (honest!) — remind us of this, with a step-by-step lesson of how to use Google maps:

Google Maps Foreclosure Listings

1. Punch in any US address into Google Maps.

2. Your options are Earth, Satellite, Map, Traffic and . . . More. (Select “More”)

3. The drop down menu gives you a check box option for “Real Estate.”

4. The left column will give you several options (You may have to select “Show Options”)

5. Check the box marked “Foreclosure.”

I wanted to demonstrate the full extent of Foreclosures in the US, so after setting GMaps on foreclosure listings, I slowly zoomed out of the map. Voila! Most foreclosures that are for sale in the USA are now showing on your screen.

Note: This map does not reveal any of the millions of REOs that have already been sold by the banks that hold them.

But the maps do reveal an entire nation littered with foreclosure sales. It is an ugly and graphic depiction of how much inventory is out there, and why housing is stillmany years away from being healthy.

Let’s try to zoom in and see exactly the extent of foreclosures in Florida, one of the biggest boom & bust regions.

(Click the image to enlarge . . . The link for each Google Map is below each screenshot)


Welcome to Foreclosureland:

(America seems to have caught the Measles; Bad real estate deals are apparently contagious)

Click for Google Map


Lets zoom the map on to the state of Florida

(A state that knows a thing or two about bad real estate)

Click for Google Map


Then we can zoom closer — to South Florida

(Thank goodness the Everglades stemmed the tide of foreclosures!)

Click for Google Map


Zoom a bit more . . . Welcome to Miami!

(Playground to wealthy South Americans, Europeans, and other defaulters)

Click for Google Map


Let’s Go Shopping . . . On Miami Beach!

(I’m sure easy financing is still available)

Click for Google Map


The repercussions of the Housing boom & bust are likely to continue for years to come.


UPDATE: December 9th, 2010 10:15am

Jonathan Miller notes his wife’s family comes from Detroit, where the map is nearly solid RED :

Click for larger updated Detroit map

Category: Foreclosures, Real Estate, Web/Tech

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

32 Responses to “Google Map Foreclosure Tricks”

  1. Bruman says:

    Wow! This is really clever! I tip my hat to your creativity (or ChartPorn’s).

    The only real issue is that it’s hard to get a sense of what are “normal” rates of spotty google maps. Sure, it looks like a lot, and all the news flow suggests that it is a lot, but what would it have looked like in 2004? I suspect that it would still be surprisingly spotty, even if it’s not quite like this.

    I suppose one can look at the national foreclosure rate and try to “thin out” the dots based on how the present foreclosure rates compare with past ones. And yet, there is likely a spatial correlation between foreclosure rates and foreclosure locations that mean it’s not quite as simple as that.

  2. gd says:

    Miami Beach may be busy, but a quick look at wealthy areas outside Boston (Concord, Carlisle, Wayland, Weston) shows pretty clean. Even some Boomer/McMansion suburbs like Westford are fairly free, and the few there seem to be where I know some oldtime neighborhoods are, e.g. boarding houses converted to apartments around long-gone mill villages. The spots having cruddy condo conversion apartment buildings in good school districts (Acton) are clustered largely on those buildings. It’s not all 100%, but a clearer trend than I would have expected with a few minutes inspection. If I was a budding sociologist or economist, I’d have a lifetime of work on wealth distribution mapped out. There’ll be blood in the streets if the tea party rank and file ever figure out what’s really going on.

  3. [...] You'll be blown away by the Google Maps view of Foreclosureland.  (TBP) [...]

  4. Transor Z says:

    The way it usually works here in Mass. is that, if you go to a foreclosure auction to buy RRE, it typically takes place right in front of the property. The bank’s rep usually starts the bidding at the outstanding mortgage balance plus $1. You have to do your homework to find places (a) you’re genuinely interested in buying and (b) that aren’t so underwater as to make it worth your while to bid. Note that there will probably be other potential buyers there with the same thought, a number of whom are experienced hands on the foreclosure purchase trail.

    So the bank normally ends up buying back the property and hiring a custodial service to look after the place/make basic repairs while they hold onto it. The opportunity for good deals (at least here in Mass.) tends to be when the house then goes on the market as a REO. At that point, like any other seller, the bank has to adjust asking price until they start to get nibbles.

  5. rktbrkr says:

    The foreclosure dots are going to be heavy in areas where there were a lot of turnovers during the bubble years of peak prices, a big gated community in S FL that was sold out in the 2002-2007 timespan is going to be a sea of red.REO sales are largely corked up now but there will be a deluge soon, especially as the banks feel a squeeze on their cash flows – sort of a twisted version of a land rush

    sorry for the double post, funny how Bernanke twists his description to suit his purposes, yes we have no bananas…yes we are not printing currency we are increasing the money supply which is effectively printing currency but no we are not literally printing currency – and you can trust us to know exactly when to reverse our policy of not actually printing currency…

  6. Lee Adler says:

    The New York Fed’s interactive mortgage and credit maps are fun.

  7. this is a nice example of ‘Data Analytics’..

    hybrid these results with what this Co. (as ex.) does..

    LSS: this, the GOOG Maps Mash-up is, in more ways than one, just, the ’30,000 ft.-view’.

    and, contra to an earlier Post, on “Quants”, these are the ‘Data Jockeys’ to pay attention to–ask Jim Simons, see if he agrees..

  8. curbyourrisk says:

    Great tool…….WOW…..Farmingdale is loaded. Funny, when I looked up at the North Shore of Long Island (where all the beautiful people live)…..NONE!!! But then again, they are beter than the rest of us.

  9. rktbrkr says:

    Fannie has an online listing of their REOs, only 3% downpayment required with 3.5% allowance for owner-occupied – so essentially nothing down. No appraisal or mortgage ins required. Nothing said about title ins. Special financing for renovations/repairs.

    I believe there will be at least one more wave of markdowns in the sand states once the foreclosure train regains momentum, the normal areas might be near bottom now as long as we can hold at 90% employment.

    If BB screws up and mortgage rates soar then it’s good night Irene for homeowers even at this level

  10. beaufou says:

    Can you google map the notes for those foreclosures?

  11. Livermore Shimervore says:

    interesting: Click on both the “For Sale” and “Foreclosure” check boxes and then unclick “For Sale”. Very different maps.

  12. louis says:

    Move along, these aren’t the dots your looking for – Que Ostrich.

  13. [...] interesting find over at The Big Picture, detailing how to use Google Maps to find foreclosures: Google Maps keeps evolving, expanding the ability to drill down into granular detail. The latest [...]

  14. [...] state of the economy, and for seeing what homes go for when they’ve been left in the wind. Google Map Foreclosure Tricks [The Big Picture via BoingBoing [...]

  15. [...] I know Google Maps can be used to see directions to some place in the area you never been to,  you can see street views of places, and so many other wonderful uses for Google Maps but now you can actually check the Foreclosures in a particular area using Google’s Map Service which is crazy, check out this article for more Details HERE. [...]

  16. FMT says:

    Immensely sad to reflect on the family stress and pain many of these dots will represent.

  17. michael says:

    its probably worth noting that even this badly understates the problem. a home across the street from me was short-sold and the family lost all of their equity and the money’s for a major addition they had put into it; they of course aren’t shown. also, the house next to them went through foreclosure. its since been bought and a new family is living there. since its not currently in foreclosure, its not displayed either.

  18. Rob says:

    Been having fun looking at foreclosure properties in my area this morning.
    Didn’t know that was even a possibility on GM.

    Stumbled upon something that was really cool that I’ve never seen before.
    Well sort of. If you look at a property using the “street view” then you
    can checkout the area around the property. (yeah, bear with me, I know that
    isn’t “new”) But while you looking at it in street view, right mouse click
    on the image and select “3D mode on.” Now that’s bad ass.

    I use to do mechanical design work and our computer did a similar “trick” as
    this. When you were designing a 3D part you could put it in 3D mode and the
    part you were designing became 3D (with the glasses of course) While it was
    a super nifty trick, it didn’t have much purpose in the design process.
    Similar to this street view thing I guess, really nifty but not much
    purpose…. yet.

    In case the 3D thing isn’t available everywhere, here’s the property I was
    looking at.


  19. I wouldn’t get too excited about that unit at 3425 Collins Ave. I used to live right nearby for 9 years.
    Even in this depressed market: You get what you pay for.
    Caveat Emptor. ‘Nuff said.

  20. zato says:

    These are NOT foreclosure listings. They are FOR SALE listings.
    I looked at my neighborhood and ever single house that is for sale is designated a foreclosure according to google maps with “foreclosure” checked. Every single one. Now I know some of my neighbors and they are not in foreclosure.

    The data is bad, folks.

  21. [...] out the full article and set of maps – and instructions on how to do it yourself [...]

  22. paulks says:

    The data doesn’t represent what we think it does, or what the title implies. I asked a real estate insider about this map. His reply:

    “That is a pretty neat system.  Unfortunately, it’s not a very accurate or useful system to me, it looks like it just generates hits to foreclosure “sale” websites, which in turn makes my client call me and ask to see a property that was sold weeks ago.  The interesting thing is that nobody can actually sell a foreclosure except the public trustee, they only take cash, and they don’t advertise.  The news media has done a good job of confusing the public about what a foreclosure really is.  All these houses may be in the foreclosure process at some point, or have already gone through foreclosure.  Most appear to be bank owned or short sales or distressed sales, etc.
    I looked up a couple I know about and the system appears to only be linked to these commercial websites, not the current MLS.  1375 S Vrain is shown on the map as being listed for $145k.  I know it went through and completed foreclosure nearly a year ago, and the bank sold it at auction 10 days ago for $74,000  (to my investors)”

  23. [...] The Big Picture has been looking at a number of areas on Google Maps to assess the impact of the downturn on people’s homes. [...]

  24. [...] is why Barry Ritholtz’s The Big Picture is a must read – always a trove of cool insight – this time its (via ChartPorn) [...]

  25. Quora says:

    How to find foreclosing apartments?…

    Google provides an interesting solution for this though I cannot confirm if their results are relevant. Basically go to Google Maps, punch in any US address and hit the More button besides Traffic. There is an option for Real Estate, check that and on …

  26. Cogitator says:

    This seems to be for homes that have been foreclosed on. There are many others that are in the process, but have not yet been, as they say, sold on the courthouse steps to make this list. If all of the homes that are in the process of being foreclosed were on on this map, it would look much worse.


    BR: The source, according to Google, are various real estate agencies (Like Realty Trak) tjhat specialize in foreclosures

  27. [...] For a frightening way to visualize the foreclosure crisis, we’re borrowing a Google maps technique described by Barry Ritholtz. [...]

  28. If you only could trust Realty Tracs data. IN Cape Coral Ft Myers they are over stating the data by 300 percent for 2010. The public records is very transparent there. search for Lis Pendens check out this video comparing realty tracs data to public records