Journal of Housing and the Built Environment

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 159–176 | Cite as

What makes a location attractive for the housing consumer? Preliminary findings from metropolitan Helsinki and Randstad Holland using the analytical hierarchy process

  • Tom Kauko
Original Paper


What determines the attractiveness of a location within a given housing market? The study reports some preliminary cross-country evidence on housing consumer preferences, based on expert elicited preference profiles generated by an analytic hierarchy process (AHP). The findings indicate fundamental differences between the two housing market contexts: metropolitan Helsinki (in 1998) and Randstad Holland (in 2003). In Helsinki housing quality and a spacious environment are always taken for granted. Therefore, an important choice criterion is location, particularly two aspects of it: accessibility and ȁ8pleasantnessȁ9. The latter aspect characterises a pluralist consumer preference formation; it is based on various individual and idiosyncratic lifestyles that depend on value orientations. In Randstad Holland the situation is somewhat different. There, for most housing consumers, the functionality and spaciousness of the house matters more than its location. Furthermore, the tangible ȁ8hardȁ9 characteristics have more weight than the intangible ȁ8softȁ9 ones when it comes to evaluating the physical surroundings. The image of the municipality does not matter as much as the neighbourhood factors. The difference is particularly evident for new developments in suburban areas. This has potential implications for the building industry when deciding on the most feasible strategy for production.


Analytic hierarchy process (AHP) Attractiveness of a location Metropolitan Helsinki Randstad Holland Stated choice 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.OTB Research Institute for Housing, Urban and Mobility StudiesDelft University of TechnologyGA DelftThe Netherlands

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