Mapping house price data

Following the Land Registry making price-sold data available, we have now added to Community Insight a range of house price indicators. We have taken the Land Registry’s data for individual transactions and mapped them as average prices in each geographical area, averaged over a 12-month period.

To make the data more useful we have a number of indicators, which calculate the averages for different categories of homes:

  • Average house price for detached houses
  • Average house price for flats
  • Average house price for semi-detached houses
  • Average house price for terraced houses

Users can find these new indicators amongst all the rest of the data that are available for mapping, within the housing theme.

The addition of house price data was prioritised by the Community Insight user group; housing providers are keen to make use of this exciting new source of Open Data to gain another important set of insights into the areas where they work.

As well as these new datasets that you have access to, as ever we have been keeping the data in Community Insight up to date with the latest releases of various indicators, including this month updates to several benefits datasets.

Neighbourhood Dashboard: charts and matrix

Community Insight recently gained a pair of dashboard features, giving users a powerful new way to visualise some of the key indicators across their neighbourhoods.

The Matrix view gives Community Insight users a quick way of comparing each of the neighbourhoods they have defined on the system against a selection of indicators. At a glance you can see which of your areas are highest and lowest across the range of indicators, helping you to identify priority neighbourhoods that are experiencing multiple hardships.

Matrix view of Community Insight's Neighbourhood Dashboard functionality.

The other new screen gives Community Insight subscribers a quick view of a particular area. By looking at the series of charts you can easily identify those indicators for which an area is particularly high or low when compared to your other areas or to the national average, helping you to select the type of activity that might be most valuable in that area. Chart view of Community Insight's Neighbourhood Dashboard functionality.

Huge new functionality upgrades planned as CI enters second year

The last year has seen Community Insight become the most used new data analytic tool in the housing sector, with more than 50 housing providers with a total of 1m homes in management using it regularly access and analyse data on the communities that they work in. The size of that user community has allowed Community Insight to accelerate development of new features, enabling access to new data sets and new ways of presenting and interpreting data.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen the integration of data from, providing at a glance access to the latest crime stats for individual neighbourhoods; the introduction of the “My Patch” facility, which enables housing providers to find out instantly who else is working in or near their neighbourhoods; and the ability to capture and export Community Insight data into other systems (including in house GIS and mapping products); as well as a host of behind the scenes changes to make Community Insight even faster and more robust.

Neighbourhood crime data now on Community Insight

Over the next few weeks we’ll be rolling out more upgrades to what Community Insight can do.  Users can already get a preview of the new Neighbourhood Dashboard feature at our beta site and comment on our LinkedIn Group.

Community Insight neighbourhood dashboard

We’ll also see even more new data – integrating the live data feeds only recently made available from the Land Registry – and improvements to reporting, enabling the archiving of historic community profiles and the ability to “freeze frame” data and analyse trends.

And – early in the new year – Community Insight subscribers will have an exclusive first opportunity to beta test our new social impact mapping tool, Value Insight, a partner application to Community Insight, which will enable housing providers to map and analyse the social impact of their community investment activities, drawing on exclusive wellbeing valuation metrics from leading social value expert Daniel Fujiwara, working in partnership with HACT.

Community Insight users will be able to beta test Social Impact, coming soon

It’s an exciting time for Community Insight – if you’re a subscriber, get involved in the conversations around where we go next on our LinkedIn user group or come along to our active user group events (the next one is on 19 November); if you’d like to find out more about how Community Insight can make a difference to your work, register for a free demonstration and trial account here.

Who is on your patch?

For housing providers operating across multiple areas, getting information on who is working in your neighbourhoods can sometimes be a difficult and time consuming task. And when looking to move into new neighbourhoods, it can be helpful to find out first who else is active in that area. Perhaps you want to work with other organisations on joint projects to address the needs of a neighbourhood. Or maybe to ensure you are not duplicating services. Or perhaps you have some stock that you want to rationalise, and you want to get an idea of who is already active in that area and might be interested in taking it on.

We are therefore very excited to announce the launch of the new ‘My Patch’ functionality in Community Insight. This tool allows Community Insight subscribers to instantly get a read out of all the other housing providers are active in each of your neighbourhoods. All users can now access a “My Patch tab on their Community Insight account, where they will find all of their stock groups listed. By picking any of your areas you will get a list of every social landlord that has let at least one property in that area in the last five years.”

This functionality has been made possible by DCLG’s release to HACT of five years of CORE lettings data. We are very grateful to the Department for making this powerful information available as open data; it will further enhance housing providers’ insight into the areas they work in, and hence the benefits they are able to deliver to those communities.

This is the first of several major feature upgrades being added to Community Insight this autumn, and these upgrades are included free in your subscription. If you do not yet use Community Insight, please contact us to arrange a demonstration, and find out how you can increase your knowledge of your neighbourhoods, and those working near you.

Power users and downloading your data

We have had a busy few weeks since the July user group meet-up, making good progress on the most important new features highlighted by users. Watch this space for “who’s on my patch”, “Neighbourhood dashboards” and “Upload your data” coming soon.

In the meantime, we’ve gone live with a couple of smaller updates that users have requested:

  • Data downloads: Single download file containing data for all Community Insight indicators, for all areas or just those areas in which you have properties. This means it is now straightforward to carry out more detailed analysis of your communities in statistics or GIS applications such as Excel, SPSS, ArcInfo etc.
  • Power users: As asked for by many of you, we have added ‘Power Users’ to Community Insight. A Power User can add/ edit stock groups and request reports, however cannot edit the original stock on your account, or delete stock groups. More information is available on power users here.
  • Community Insight Linkedin group: Subscribe to the group and get involved in the latest discussions with the Community Insight team and other users. We’re currently looking at how you want the ‘Upload your own data’ feature to work so that it best meets the needs of your organisation.
  • Minor tweaks and tidies: And as always we are working behind the scenes of Community Insight smoothing out the back end of the tool to ensure it always runs as efficiently as possible.

Check back regularly to see what’s new as we have more exciting new features in the pipeline. And if you have any comments or feedback about any of the above, do get in touch as we love to hear from you, or use the Linkedin page to share your thoughts & comments with other users.

Postcodes, GIS and open data

Behind the scenes in Community Insight, we’re always improving the system functionality and performance. Generally users notice the difference through new features such as stock types and hotspot mapping. Or we notice the difference in terms of it being easier to do things like update the data or launch a new version of Insight for housing providers in Wales.

We also release continual performance enhancements, which can really improve the user experience, such as faster loading of maps and and property assets (even on IE7 and IE8 …). Based on user-feedback, updating the postcode look-up data is one of those performance improvements that users really notice. Which is why we’re excited to have just updated and strengthened the postcode data we hold in the system.

Postcode data is now published on a quarterly basis by Ordnance Survey as open data, and we are always rolling-in the latest version of this information to ensure that we know about the addresses used by housing organisations. This data is linked to a coordinate (based on the centre of the postcode – unfortunately OS decided the postcode boundary was too valuable to publish as open data), which we use for locating property assets on the map. We can also take in property locations based on latitude-longitude (or easting-northing) which we we will roll into a future release.

Based on the postcode location, we can also identify which standard areas each postcode is in – such as wards, Output Areas, Super Output Areas, Local Authorities etc – and use this to generate community profile reports for Insight users. For this, we use lookup tables published by the Office for National Statistics. But we now also top this up with some GIS jujitsu to match previously unmatched postcode centres to the standard area boundary definitions.

The bottom-line is that our postcode matching is getting close to the magic 100%, with users able to map their properties in less than 1 minute. And as a bonus, Community Insight can also help organisations to identify errors in their underlying property postcode data – as we know some users are already doing.

Welsh reporting goes live

Reporting goes live: Community Insight Wales users can now generate detailed area reports for their properties.

In the same way Community Insight works, users define their groups based on their local neighbourhoods, communities and areas of interest. Area profile reports can then be generated based on these groups within a few minutes!

Reports provide detailed information on all the key indicators that support your work in targeting and evaluating community investment.

Check out the Community Insight FAQs for more information on the open data housing tool. And you can find out about the latest updates and new functionality here from our regular blog posts.

Are you a housing provider in Wales? If so, do get in touch and find out how Community Insight can benefit your organisation.



Map your hotspots in even more detail

Map your hotspot areas: The Community Insight map show how your areas compare with other areas across the country. However, many users have asked us if they could map their ‘hotspot’ areas in more detail- showing just those areas with the highest levels on the selected indicator, and picking out those in the top 1%, 5% and 10%.

The new ‘hotspot’ functionality does exactly this, showing areas in the top 20% of areas on the mapped indicator. You can toggle the between showing all areas, or just the hotspot areas.

All areas mapped:

‘Hotspots’ only mapped:

Stock type video tutorial: 

For those of you yet to set-up for your stock types, or would like more information on how to do so, check out the latest video tutorial below. There is also a link to this video on relevant pages in Community Insight.

Gearing up for Wales:

Our next update will extend Community Insight into Wales. If you’re a Welsh housing provider, then do get in touch to find out more.

Minor tweaks and tidies: And the usual work goes on ‘behind the scenes’, making sure Community Insight always runs as smoothly as possible.

Check back regularly to see what’s new, and do get in touch with any comments, feedback or questions.


Stock types are here!

Stock types are here: The most-requested feature from users at the user-group session was to allow different types of property type (General Needs, Shared Ownership, Supported Housing and so on), and for users to be able to create their own types.

Really pleased that this feature is now live on Community Insight. You can now define your own stock types, enabling you to categorise your properties. This lets you tailor your Community Insight account to match the way your organisation understands your properties.

Each stock type is displayed on the map using a different colour icon, and you can toggle each type to show, or hide, on the Community Insight map.

We know you’ll all have lots of burning questions about the new feature, so we have put together ‘frequently answered questions’ [pdf] about the stock types which will help you to get started.

Do get in touch if you have any questions or feedback on the stock types feature. We are eager to hear back about user experiences with the latest addition to Community Insight.

Minor tweaks and tidies: And as always we have been busy ‘behind the scenes’ making sure Community Insight always runs as smoothly as possible.

And as always, check back regularly to see what’s new, and do get in touch with any comments, feedback or questions.

Download your property data and pilot ready for customising your groups

In this week’s update we are mainly gearing up for the release of the ‘different stock types’ functionality, which was the most requested feature at the user group in March. But we’ve also found time to go-live with a useful new feature where you can now download your property data by stock group, as well as the usual tweaks and tidies.

Downloading your property data by group : Many users have wanted to be able to download their stock by group, to make it easier to edit the groups separately. You can now do this directly – look for the link under ‘Edit stock groups’ to quickly download your properties (both postcodes and unique reference numbers) for viewing and editing. If you want to edit the actual properties in each group, you can now download, edit and upload in a couple of minutes.

Testing the ‘Different stock types’ feature: The most-requested feature from users at the user-group session in March was to allow different types of property type (General Needs, Shared Ownership, Supported Housing and so on), and for users to be able to create their own types. This is now running on the testing server, with a few early users having a go at the functionality before it goes live. We are aiming to have the full feature live in the next couple of weeks, meaning that users can even better tailor Community Insight to their organisation.

Tweaks and tidies: We have made Community Insight even more secure, moving the user features onto a secure platform to avoid ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks and other exotically named hacks. And we have been busy under the Community Insight bonnet making sure that the tool always runs as smoothly as possible, including optimisations for Internet Explorer 10.

And as always, check back regularly to see what is new, and do get in touch with any comments or feedback.