Environmental Economics

Download Affordable Housing Finance by Kim Hawtrey (auth.) PDF

By Kim Hawtrey (auth.)

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Example text

In turn, this allows the vast majority to accumulate lifetime wealth, which acts to counteract the tendency toward a grossly unequal distribution of economic benefits. However, net differences still exist on account of differences in household composition and variations across countries in the size of the owner-occupied sector. Social costs of housing stress Housing stress impacts negatively on the formation of “social capital”. Social capital refers to the mutual trust and civic behaviors that facilitate communal engagement.

The debate over urban renewal (“brownfield” development) versus urban sprawl (“greenfield” development) is relevant, with research showing that land supply and demand matter. For instance, Miceli and Sirmans (2007) examine the link between the holdout problem and urban sprawl, and find that developers attempting land assembly often face a potential holdout problem that raises the cost of development. To minimize this extra cost, developers prefer land whose ownership is less dispersed. This creates a bias toward development at the urban fringe where average lot sizes are larger, resulting in urban sprawl, which may finally help keep housing costs down.

The more stringent the restrictions, the less the housing market is able to respond to increased demand and the more likely the house prices are to increase. And when residential land is very difficult to come by, housing becomes unaffordable. There is a body of empirical evidence to prove that placing restrictions on urban land supplies has led to serious house price escalation (Cox and Pavletich, 2009). For our purpose, it is important to note that at the low-income end of the market, space and location can clearly make for a significant mismatch problem.

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