Scraping Craigslist Listings with R

Oct 1, 2023 · 4 min read

This article explains how to scrape Craigslist apartment listings using R and the rvest package. We'll go through each part of the code.

First install and load rvest:

install.packages("rvest")
library(rvest)

rvest helps parse and scrape HTML.

Set the URL to scrape:

url <- "<https://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/apa>"

Use read_html() to get the page content:

page <- read_html(url)

If you check the source code of Craigslist listings you can see that the listings area code looks something like this…

You can see the code block that generates the listing…

<li class="cl-static-search-result" title="Situated in Sunnyvale!, Recycling Center, 1/BD">
            <a href="https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/apa/d/santa-clara-situated-in-sunnyvale/7666802370.html">
                <div class="title">Situated in Sunnyvale!, Recycling Center, 1/BD</div>

                <div class="details">
                    <div class="price">$2,150</div>
                    <div class="location">
                        sunnyvale
                    </div>
                </div>
            </a>
        </li>

its encapsulated in the cl-static-search-result class. We also need to get the title class div and the price and location class divs to get all the data

Parse the HTML into nodes:

html_nodes(page, "li.cl-static-search-result")

Loop through each node and extract info:

listings <- html_nodes(page, "li.cl-static-search-result")

for (listing in listings) {

  title <- html_node(listing, ".title") %>%
    html_text()

  price <- html_node(listing, ".price") %>%
    html_text()

  location <- html_node(listing, ".location") %>%
    html_text()

  link <- html_node(listing, "a") %>%
    html_attr("href")

  print(paste(title, price, location, link))

}

The full R code is:

library(rvest)

url <- "<https://sfbay.craigslist.org/search/apa>"

page <- read_html(url)

listings <- html_nodes(page, "li.cl-static-search-result")

for (listing in listings) {

  title <- html_node(listing, ".title") %>%
    html_text()

  price <- html_node(listing, ".price") %>%
    html_text()

  location <- html_node(listing, ".location") %>%
    html_text()

  link <- html_node(listing, "a") %>%
    html_attr("href")

  print(paste(title, price, location, link))

}

This walks through scraping Craigslist listings in R.

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