OECD Housing resources

Explore recent OECD housing-related reports, working papers and policy briefs.

Explore key housing content

Housing amid Covid-19: Policy responses and challenges

Housing policies for sustainable and inclusive cities

Housing policies for sustainable and inclusive cities

The rising cost of the middle-class lifestyle

The rising cost of the middle-class lifestyle

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28/07/2021
Dr. Rüdiger Ahrend and Dr. Jaebeum Cho from the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities argue that real-life housing politics is more complicated than playing Simcity and call for better coordination of land-use and zoning policies across levels of government with the view to better aligning housing demand and supply.
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12/07/2021
The authors, all economists at the OECD’s Environment Directorate, discuss avenues on how to reconcile housing affordability with environmental sustainability.
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02/07/2021
Volker Ziemann, an economist at the OECD’s Economics Department, uses a stylised model to illustrate how moving towards best practices in terms of housing policies can improve housing affordability.
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21/06/2021
Arent Skjæveland from Norway’s Ministry of Finance and chair of the OECD Economic Policy Committee calls for a multi-facetted housing policy strategy that cuts across areas such as regulation, taxation, environment and social housing.
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18/06/2021
Across OECD and EU countries, people with disabilities continue to struggle in the housing market, due to a persistent lack of accessible housing solutions, insufficient attention to the design features that make housing accessible, and significant financial and informational barriers in the housing market. With around one in four adults reporting some form of disability that limits their participation in everyday activities, the challenge is significant and expected to grow. This brief assesses the housing situation of people with disabilities and the types of housing supports that are currently available, and outlines strategies to improve housing outcomes among people with disabilities.
15/06/2021
The OECD’s Volker Ziemann argues that housing policy is one of the most complex policy challenges of our time and that improving the social inclusiveness, economic efficiency and environmental sustainability of housing can help deliver much-needed progress.
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14/06/2021
The Covid-19 crisis, along with digitalisation, climate change and population ageing will have durable and uncertain, effects on housing demand and supply, including both residential and commercial markets. Luiz de Mello, Director of Economic Policy at the OECD looks at how housing policies that use solid evidence, good practices and mutual learning can support our quest for better lives.
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31/05/2021
The report brings together evidence, international experience and policy insights for the design of housing policies. Emphasis is placed on three broad aspects: inclusiveness, efficiency and sustainability. Inclusive access to housing has become increasingly challenging in many OECD countries due to a large extent to rising housing costs, which reflects the failure of housing supply to meet demand, particularly in jobs-rich urban areas. Geographical constraints play a role, but in many cities regulations, including on land-use and zoning provisions, also constrain supply. At the same time, some regulations on tenant-landlord relations can discourage the development of rental markets, pushing up rents. Moreover, the transition to a low-carbon economy poses challenges for a sector that accounts for 17% of CO2 emissions and 37% of fine particulate matter emissions globally. Almost two-thirds of countries worldwide still lack mandatory building energy codes. Frontloading efforts is critical as dwellings have a very long lifespan. The report lays out evidence-based options for concerted policy action to address these challenges, while recognising complementarities and trade-offs amond the different objectives of housing policies. The report is part of the OECD Housing Tookit, which includes an interactive online dashboard of housing indicators and country snapshots.
18/01/2021
Housing affordability can be broadly defined as the ability of households to buy or rent adequate housing, without impairing their ability to meet basic living costs. Yet the reality is more complex, both in terms of the metrics used to measure housing affordability, as well as the policies introduced to make housing more affordable. As discussed in this brief, some measures provide an indication of housing affordability among the median household, while others are better suited to assess the challenges facing specific groups, such as low income households, youth or seniors.
04/11/2020
Economists Orsetta Causa and Jacob Pichelmann shine the light on housing-related policies that support affordability, especially for households at the bottom of the scale. They explain how well-designed housing allowances, balanced rental market regulations and a responsive housing supply can help close the housing gap.
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21/10/2020
This paper delivers new evidence on the individual and policy drivers of residential mobility, covering a wide range of housing-related policies and conditions but also other relevant policy areas. The analysis uses household-level micro datasets allowing for an investigation of the drivers of the decision to move for a large number of OECD countries; as well for identifying differential policy effects across socio-economic groups, underscoring the distributional effect of policies. The evidence strongly supports the view that housing conditions and structural policies influence people’s decisions and possibilities to move. A more responsive housing supply is associated with higher residential mobility, suggesting that reforming land-use and planning policies may facilitate moving by reducing house price differences across locations. Social cash and in-kind spending on housing are positively correlated with residential mobility. Higher housing transaction costs, including from transfer taxes, are associated with lower residential mobility, especially among younger households, which are more likely to be first time-buyers. Stricter rental regulations are associated with lower residential mobility, particularly for renters, low-educated and low-income households. Beyond housing policies, more generous cash income support to low-wage jobseekers and minimum income schemes embedded in social transfers are positively associated with residential mobility; while excessive job protection on regular contracts is negatively associated with mobility, particularly for youth, low-income and low-educated individuals.
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15/10/2020
Social housing is an important dimension of social welfare policy and affordable housing provision, but there are significant differences across countries in the definition, size, scope, target population and type of provider of social housing. The relative size of the social housing sector has been shrinking in recent years in all but six countries for which data are available. At the same time, many countries have undertaken major building-revitalisation projects to improve the quality of social dwellings and the surrounding neighbourhoods. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the enduring housing affordability and quality gaps facing many households.
08/10/2020
By combining fresh estimates of housing supply and prices with recent long-term projections for their fundamental drivers such as population, income and interest rates, this paper produces scenarios for residential investment and real house prices up to 2050. For half of the covered countries, projected increases in house prices are large enough to outpace real incomes, thereby further eroding housing affordability. The paper illustrates and quantifies how housing policies can make a difference. Removing mortgage interest relief eases price pressures and can contribute to more affordable housing. Likewise, streamlining land-use governance and easing rental control can help unlock housing supply, make housing markets more efficient and, ultimately, housing more affordable.
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14/09/2020
Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, Director for the Centre for Entrepreneurship at the OECD discusses how cities can respond to COVID-19 by going digital, fighting inequality and becoming more sustainable.
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10/09/2020
Housing is key to inclusive growth. It is the biggest spending item of household budgets, the main driver of wealth accumulation and biggest source of debt for most households. Housing and the neighbourhood in which people live also have important implications for individual health, employment and educational outcomes – effects that can begin in childhood and can last a lifetime. Nevertheless, the housing market may also present a barrier to inclusive growth for some groups, such as low-income households, children, youth, seniors and the homeless.The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted even more abruptly just how important housing issues are to people, and prompted governments to introduce a range of emergency housing supports. However, the pandemic has also underscored the need for governments to develop more structural responses to address persistent housing challenges.This report assesses the key underlying pre-COVID-19 housing policy issues and proposes a series of recommendations to support more inclusive housing outcomes. These include measures to address some of the structural barriers to inclusive growth in the housing market, as well as measures to address the specific housing challenges facing vulnerable groups.
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03/08/2020
The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the housing sector particularly hard and governments have responded with measures to alleviate the negative consequences of the crisis for tenants, borrowers, builders and lenders. OECD experts explore a range of changes and how the way we organise work could relieve housing demand pressures in overly-dense areas
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27/07/2020
Pierre-Alain Pionnier from the OECD Statistics and Data Directorate notes significant differences in house price developments across countries and also within countries. He examines the way we calculate real house price growth and how we might achieve a more meaningful comparison of house price dynamics across countries.
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22/07/2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted construction, made it difficult for many households to pay for shelter, and seriously hurt the housing sector. Governments have responded with a wide array of measures to protect tenants and mortgage-holders, as well as support builders and lenders. This note mobilises web-search data to shed new light on the impact of the crisis on the construction sector. It then takes stock of measures taken by governments and argues that some of the relief could, if not duly phased out as planned, create unintended inefficiencies and notably make housing supply less responsive to changes in demand and the evolving needs of society. The note concludes by building on recent empirical findings that stress the importance of gradually transitioning from immediate rescue measures to policy settings that can support the recovery and the development of efficient, inclusive and sustainable housing markets.
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19/06/2020
The rate of homeownership is close to the OECD average in Luxembourg. However, strong house price increases, mainly driven by population growth and limited housing supply, led to a deterioration in affordability of housing, in particular for the young and added to the wealth gap between homeowners and renters.
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17/06/2020
Housing affordability and quality are pressing challenges in Latvia. While Latvian households spend, on average, less on housing than their OECD peers, many are stuck in poor quality housing. Residential investment has stagnated since 2008, and the housing stock – much of which was built during the Soviet era – has been insufficiently maintained. In the face of these challenges, public support for housing is limited, with a large share of households who are too rich to be eligible for benefits and social housing, yet too poor to qualify for a commercial mortgage. Meanwhile, an underdeveloped rental market further limits affordable housing alternatives. This study builds on the extensive work conducted by the OECD on housing and economic development to help Latvia address some of these challenges.
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