It is often argued that the need for a housing market analysis, which differs from that used for other goods and services, arises from a number of distinctive features that characterise housing markets and, indeed, property in general. The most commonly cited characteristics are the longevity of the housing stock, its heterogeneity, the frictions that operate in the market, the existence of non-neutralities (particularly through the tax and planning systems) and, finally, the spatial fixity of housing. Although we shall have something to say on each of these issues, this book is primarily concerned with the last — the theoretical and empirical analysis of housing markets at different spatial scales. This has been broadly interpreted. At one extreme, we consider international differences in housing markets; at the other extreme, the book deals with urban markets. In between, we look at regional analysis. Each spatial dimension gives rise to a distinct set of analytical and policy problems. For example, European differences in housing market structures have given rise to an increasing literature on the implications of housing for monetary union. Urban housing analysis is intimately tied up with equally topical issues of economic polarisation and social exclusion. Regional housing differences have been highlighted as a factor in explaining regional growth variations.
KeywordsHouse Price Housing Market Credit Market Monetary Union Inflation Target
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