Housing/Shelter costs constitute around a third of inflation. I've noticed though in many reports people cite official BLS rent inflation data as well as rent data from Zillow and other such sources.

Does anyone know the particular benefits of Zillow data? Is it more representative, is it more timely, of a higher frequency, more accurate than official sources?


1 Answer 1


Why Zillow ?

  • More timely. The BLS only releases rent data on a quarterly basis, while Zillow releases rent data on a monthly basis. This means that Zillow data can be used to track rent changes more closely.
  • More Granular. The BLS only releases rent data for the United States as a whole, while Zillow releases rent data for individual cities and neighborhoods. This means that Zillow data can be used to track rent changes in specific areas.
  • More comprehensive. The BLS only collects data on rent prices, while Zillow also collects data on other factors that can affect rent prices, such as the number of available units and the demand for housing. This means that Zillow data can be used to get a more complete picture of the rental market.

Why BLS ?

  • Not as accurate as BLS data. Based on self-reported data, which means that it is not as accurate as data that is collected directly from landlords and tenants.
  • Not as representative as BLS data. Only based on data from a subset of the rental market, which means that it may not be representative of the entire rental market.

Sources :





  • $\begingroup$ Really Helpful. Any academic or policy papers that touch on this? $\endgroup$
    – cel
    Jun 18, 2023 at 19:48
  • $\begingroup$ Updated the answer with sources - there are a lot more . These are just the glaring ones. show appreciation by casting your vote ✔ - for whatever it took to write it ! $\endgroup$ Jun 19, 2023 at 2:39

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