Affordable Housing Finance by Kim Hawtrey (auth.)

By Kim Hawtrey (auth.)

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Example text

Affordability reflects slow or booming home starts and sales, trends in home prices, changes in the inventory of new and existing homes for sale, and rises or falls in percentage points in mortgage rates. Influences on housing affordability fall into four broad categories. • • • • Spatial: zoning, dwelling size, estate design, land supply. Economic: production, income, rents, demography. Government policy: taxes, subsidies, regulations. Financial: interest rates, banks, capital markets, investment.

Admittedly, the figures mentioned above were mostly of those before the credit crisis. Since the crisis, the housing price “bubble” has burst and it might be assumed that housing stress has eased somewhat. While that is partly true, by no means has the problem of housing stress gone away. 1 provides an international, postcrisis overview of housing affordability problems. 1 Distribution of markets by housing affordability, 2008 (six countries) Source: 5th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey (Cox and Pavletich, 2009).

Defining “affordable housing” Ultimately, housing affordability is all about the oldest theory in economics: supply and demand. But is simple affordability the real issue? The use of the phrase “affordable housing”, by commentators and also in the title of this text, is deliberate. It means more than just house affordability, in two important respects. First, when housing adequacy is expressed using the term “affordable housing”, it implies that affordability is not a characteristic of housing per se, rather it is a “relationship between housing and people” (Stone, 2006a).

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