Accurate house prediction is of great significance to various real estate stakeholders such as house owners, buyers, and investors. We propose a location-centered prediction framework that differs from existing work in terms of data profiling and prediction model. Regarding data profiling, we make an important observation as follows – besides the in-house features such as floor area, the location plays a critical role in house price prediction. Unfortunately, existing work either overlooked it or had a coarse grained measurement of locations. Thereby, we define and capture a fine-grained location profile powered by a diverse range of location data sources, including transportation profile, education profile, suburb profile based on census data, and facility profile. Regarding the choice of prediction model, we observe that a variety of approaches either consider the entire data for modeling, or split the entire house data and model each partition independently. However, such modeling ignores the relatedness among partitions, and for all prediction scenarios, there may not be sufficient training samples per partition for the latter approach. We address this problem by conducting a careful study of exploiting the
Multi-Task Learning (MTL)
model. Specifically, we map the strategies for splitting the entire house data to the ways the tasks are defined in MTL, and select specific MTL-based methods with different regularization terms to capture and exploit the relatedness among tasks. Based on real-world house transaction data collected in Melbourne, Australia, we design extensive experimental evaluations, and the results indicate a significant superiority of MTL-based methods over state-of-the-art approaches. Meanwhile, we conduct an in-depth analysis on the impact of task definitions and method selections in MTL on the prediction performance, and demonstrate that the impact of task definitions on prediction performance far exceeds that of method selections.