Housing choice: Assumptions and approaches

  • Clara H. Mulder
Article

Abstract

Residential mobility and housing choice are studied within a variety of research traditions. The traditions are classified into four approaches, depending on the conceptualization of housing choice they use. Four approaches of housing choice are distinguished: the continuous choice approach, the risk approach, the two-stage choice approach, and the three-stage search and choice approach. In the continuous choice approach, people are assumed to continuously choose between types of housing or levels of housing consumption. It is argued that this approach conforms to a concept of rationality used in the micro-economic sense of utility maximization. The other three approaches are more in line with a bounded rationality concept. They assume that people are not constantly evaluating their housing situation but consider moving only after a certain trigger has set off an intention to move. The three approaches assuming limited periods of housing choice differ in the way they treat triggers for moving versus resources, constraints, and opportunities. They also differ in terms of what is viewed as the object of choice. The risk approach does not explicitly model choice. The two-stage approach models the choice between various opportunities. And the three-stage approach models the choice between accepting and not accepting a particular opportunity “arriving” at a certain point in time.

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  • Clara H. Mulder

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