CoStar Insights

Research: In the Air, On the Ground, and Across the CRE Market

by Shara Dahl | May 11, 2016

CSG-032-16_05-10-16_PlaneWe’ve learned that aerial research sets off a domino effect of information generation, beginning in the sky, continuing on the ground, and traveling through the engine that is our commercial real estate intelligence database.

CoStar took to the air to bring market research to a new level in 2014, when we acquired our Cessna Grand Caravan, a low speed plane flying at 120 knots at an elevation of 2,500 feet and higher. The plane’s construction and capabilities are perfect for canvassing various neighborhoods, cities and development areas, allowing CoStar’s aerial researchers to take high-resolution video and photography using a RED EPIC DRAGON cinema-quality camera, which is mounted on the underside of the plane.

By canvassing for construction sites, new building development and other commercial real estate activity that can be spotted from above, the CoStar research team harnesses a powerful, additional repository of intelligence and imagery – which CoStar aerial researchers immediately add into the CoStar commercial research database. 

CSG-032-16_05-10-16_Plane_2CoStar’s plane was originally intended to provide an extra dimension to the company’s real estate data across the top 35 markets, but is now expanding to cover all 368 markets where CoStar operates.  CoStar employs two full-time aerial research operators and two full-time pilots, along with a fleet of part-time pilots who rotate through as the plane travels across the country to gather industry-leading data.

Because of our accelerated aerial research capabilities, CoStar clients are able to gain critical information on construction and development long before their competitors.  CoStar researchers are able to update their database within three hours, down from eight days, the standard before the company purchased the aircraft.

The plane is just the latest step on a path to continued intelligence leadership.  Researched and verified information is what has always set CoStar apart. 


Our $1 billion investment in research operations has resulted in the industry’s most comprehensive database of commercial real estate information.  And our team of more than 1,600 highly trained research associates verifies the accuracy of hundreds of details on the properties in CoStar's database. By interviewing everyone from brokers to owners and property managers, we make sure our data is up-to-date, trusted and reliable. That allows our clients to easily retrieve, understand and leverage the most comprehensive, accurate and timely information to stay competitive, win clients and close deals.

See our research in action.


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    This post may include "forward-looking statements" including, without limitation, statements regarding CoStar's expectations or beliefs, which are based on our current beliefs and various assumptions concerning future events and circumstances that are subject to change.  Actual results and events may ultimately be materially different.  All forward-looking statements are based on information available on the date published, and we assume no obligation to update these statements.  You should not construe this post as investment, tax, accounting or legal advice.