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Housing Equalizer: find the apartment of your dreams


Describe the consumer preferences of people who show an interest in selecting a home.


  • Evaluate the demand for various housing options.
  • Create an image of the ideal apartment based on respondents’ choices.
  • Describe the patterns of consumer behavior when there is a limited budget.
  • Gauge interest in unique housing styles.


Data is gathered through the Housing Equalizer, a smart application developed by Digital Society Laboratory specialists. This application prompts users to rate their readiness to buy an apartment in the Moscow Region through a game. People interacted with the application for an average of 7 minutes.

The sample size was 1,000 respondents, including:

  • 400 Facebook users
  • 400 VKontakte users
  • 200 Odnoklassniki users
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The analysis of consumer preferences is an important research objective that is usually achieved through surveys. However, these leave a number of problems unresolved: respondents are often in a hurry, confused, and sometimes offer false answers. The key idea here is to create a technology where people are inclined to answer as honestly as possible by taking as much time as they need for research. Research using the smart application was completed in several steps:

  1. At the first step, respondents were invited to enter the amount they would like to spend on an apartment purchase.
  2. At the second step, respondents were invited to choose housing options (area, floor, view from the window, panorama, ceiling height, balcony, decorations, special format, etc.) that would match the image of an ideal apartment.
  3. At the third step, respondents were informed of the price of the selected apartment (possibly higher, lower, or equal to their budget) and invited to improve their results. The respondent could then choose apartment options again, only this time aware of their prices.

Users have a poor idea of prices in the real estate market: 17.7% were within their budget, 42.3% exceeded it, and 40.0% selected a lower-priced apartment.

For 56.0% of respondents, interest in the application was converted into the target action: about 24.0% requested a discount, and 32.0%, further details to their e-mail. The request for a discount was received more often from women (28.0%), and for further details from men (37.5%).

Users associate the image of an ideal apartment with floor space of 40–59 sq. m (43.6%) on the 1st or 5th floor (a total of 38.7%). After finding out the price of options, focus shifted toward the cheaper 1st floor, 50–60 sq. m (29.4%) and 90–99 sq. m (20.2%) apartments. As part of their strategy, players tended to sacrifice options for additional square meters.

Users seldom chose apartments with high ceilings (20.2% of gamers selected 3.22 meter-high ceilings or higher). After the price was shown, this share fell to 11.8%.

Most players failed to meet the required number of square meters and did not deem it necessary to use more uncommon styles to complete their image of the ideal apartment. About 32.0% of respondents selected uncommon styles, such as a city house (16.0%), an apartment with a terrace and portico (12.0%), or an apartment with a terrace (4.0%).

Additional options such as panoramic glazing, individual entry, or a bathroom window were of much less interest for players: 7.4% chose the first option, and 22.9% did after looking at the prices.


  • Respondents associate their image of the ideal apartment with a floor plan of 40–59 sq. m (43.6%) on the 1st or 5th floor of a tower block (38.7% answered “1st” and “5th” floor). About 34.5% of players think that such a housing should be priced at RUB 3–5 million.
  • The players’ strategies showed a tendency to redistribute their funds toward a large area and minimize the aesthetic attributes of the apartment (74.2% increased the area by dropping options such as a bathroom window, panorama, or balcony).
  • City houses (16.0%) and apartments with a terrace (16.0% is the sum of “terrace with portico” at 12.0% and “terrace” at 4.0%) proved the most popular among the uncommon styles. Apartments with a bathroom window (8.3%), individual entry (8.0%), or panoramic glazing (6.7%) were selected a bit less frequently.

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