Housing Affordability

Michalos, Alex C. (Ed.) 2013, Encyclopedia of Quality of Life Research. New York/Heidelberg: Springer Verlag

7 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2012

See all articles by David S. Bieri

David S. Bieri

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University - School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA); Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 10, 2012

Abstract

Housing a ffordability broadly refers to the cost of housing services and shelter - both for renters and owner occupiers - relative to a given individual’s or household’s disposable income. While there is no universal definition for this term, housing affordability is an easy concept to grasp in general. At the same time, affordability can be hard to pin down in practice, especially in terms of defining the appropriate geographic scope for housing markets, suitable definitions of representative reference individuals and households, and their changing circumstances over time. In its most crude form, housing aff ordability simply refers to the rent-to-income ratio or house-price-to-income ratio; more sophisticated measures of housing aff ordability consider (i) how much nonhousing expenditures are limited by how much is left after paying for housing or (ii) in addition to “income a ffordability”, they distinguish between “purchase affordability” (the ability to borrow funds to purchase a house), “repayment affordability” (the ability to aff ord housing finance re-payments). Over the last three decades or so, policy makers have increasingly begun to frame discussions of the availability of adequate housing opportunities in terms housing affordability as opposed to the more traditional notion of housing need.

Keywords: housing affordability, quality of life, amenities, local public goods, locational efficiency, cost of living

JEL Classification: R21, R31, R39

Suggested Citation

Bieri, David S., Housing Affordability (July 10, 2012). Michalos, Alex C. (Ed.) 2013, Encyclopedia of Quality of Life Research. New York/Heidelberg: Springer Verlag. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2144558

David S. Bieri (Contact Author)

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University - School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) ( email )

United States

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University - Department of Economics ( email )

3021 Pamplin Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
United States

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