We Know What Everybody Pays for Office Space

by CoyDavidson on February 17, 2013

digital cre photo

Compstak: Crowdsourcing CRE Data

I have featured many of the new CRE Tech Start-Ups here on the Tenant Advisor and this includes New York City based Compstak an online marketplace for commercial real estate lease comparables (comps). Compstak began in New York City and has recently expanded to San Francisco and has plans to add all the major U.S markets to their offering.

So what’s in a lease comp? The data typically includes the pertinent details of a lease transaction.

  • The name of the tenant and landlord
  • The building, floor(s) and amount of square footage leased
  • Date the lease was consummated
  • The length of the lease (term)
  • The rent paid or rental schedule
  • The tenant improvement allowance offered
  • Free rent and other concessions

The practice of trading lease comps has been around for years but the process is highly inefficient and there was always an issue of the reliability of the data and client confidentiality concerns. You basically traded this proprietary data with your colleagues in your own shop or broker friends you trusted and who reciprocated when you needed comps.

Trading the Comps You Have for the Comps You Need

Compstak’s approach to granting points for providing lease comps is an innovative approach that provides an incentive to share your information. While I have never used the Compstak service as they are not in the Houston market yet, I have always believed whoever figured out how to get the majority of leasing brokers to share accurate data has a winner on their hands.

Here is a short video featuring Compstak from start-up accelerater 500 Startups recent New York Demo Day.

  • At least in my local market, the sort of crowd sourcing of comp data that CompStak is promoting already happens. My comp group has been meeting monthly for over 15 years. We often find that our “new” comps have already been passed around by other brokers in other comp groups. If I need a specific comp, I can usually track it down through a friendly competitor.

    The brokers that see a competitive advantage in keeping their data under the radar aren’t going to participate in CompStaks platform, just as they don’t use the current system

  • Will be interesting to see how the various markets around the country respond to the service

  • Brokers in New York have come to realize that there is no competitive advantage in keeping comps private. In fact, not participating puts these brokers at a disadvantage, since they are giving up on the most comprehensive database in their market. By the way, many CRE professionals in the bay area are already sending us comps, and this number increases daily.

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