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The Economics of Housing Markets

For many younger and lower-income people, housing affordability continues to worsen.

Based on the academic research of two distinguished housing economists – and stimulated by working with governments across the world - this wide-ranging book sets out clear theoretical and empirical frameworks to tackle one of today’s most important socio-economic issues.

Housing unaffordability arises from complex forces and a prerequisite to effective policy is understanding the causes of rising house prices and rents and the interactions between housing, housing finance and the macroeconomy. The authors challenge many of the conventional wisdoms in housing policy and offer innovative recommendations to improve affordability.

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This chapter explores how the different arrangements of low- and middle-income housing at the micro-level relate to processes of city building at the level of the city-region. We study how the social and economic contestation on the uses of urban land translate into new spatial patterns of urban and regional development. This is concretely done through a comparative case study of a Brazilian and an European city-region. This comparative perspective will sensitize the empirical investigation to the effect of the (changes of) institutional context and regimes on housing arrangements and spatial patterns of city building. A specific focus will be on self-building arrangements as practices that challenge existing formal systems of city building in both cases.

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