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The data available from RealtyTrac is complex, so we've included a bit more information to make it accessible. Additionally, you should refer to the RealtyTrac Data Dictionary (Excel) for definitions and information about the individual fields within the data.
Each download set in the Faculty Digital Archive collection is comprised of zipped archives that cover the time period between 2005-2016:
NYUForeclosure - A database of every parcel in the United States that has had at least one foreclosure transaction since January 1, 2005. Note that properties that have not been foreclosed upon are not included in this file.
NYURecorder - An addendum file that includes only properties that have had at least one foreclosure transaction since January 1, 2005 and have experienced some kind of ownership-changing transaction.
NYULoans - An addendum file that includes only properties that have had at least once foreclosure transaction since January 1, 2005 and that have had loan changes (such as refinances, equity lines, or equity loans).
NYUTaxAssessor - A "master" file of all real estate transactions that have taken place between 2005-2016, and with many more variables associated with each property.
It is possible that individual properties would be listed in multiple files. For instance, a property that was foreclosed upon in 2009 would appear in the NYUForclosure file but would also appear in the NYUSales file if it had later experienced a change in ownership. The properties in these files inherently reflect foreclosure, sale, and loan transactions; however, they are tied to a unique, discrete parcel. To marry the separate transaction files by parcel, it is best to refer to the RealtyTrac property ID field, which is a unique identifier for all tax parcels assigned by RealtyTrac. Users will also want to do this to enrich data on foreclosed properties with variables present on the Tax Assessor file.
The data within these files is limited to RealtyTrac's specific geographic footprint within the United States. Overall, RealtyTrac has an extremely high rate of recording. To see what percentage of properties are covered, download the Data Coverage Guide (Excel).