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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12/01/2022
This paper measures the effective taxation of housing investments in 40 OECD member and partner countries. The paper derives both Marginal Effective Tax Rates (METRs) and Average Effective Tax Rates (AETRs), which incorporate the stream of income and taxes over the life of the housing investment. The methodology is applied to owner-occupied and rented residential property for investments that are financed with debt or equity. The paper finds that the level and components of housing taxation depend greatly on the investment scenario. Effective tax rates vary substantially depending on the holding period, rate of return, tenure (owner-occupied or rented), financing scenario, and the inflation rate. Effective tax rates do not vary much with the taxpayer’s income and wealth or with the rate of return. The paper finds there is scope to reduce the tax differential between different investment scenarios and strengthen progressivity and horizontal equity.
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14/12/2021
The landscapes of housing loan markets vary considerably across OECD countries, reflecting differences in preferences and policy settings. This paper first draws a topography of disparities in mortgage structure, documenting considerable variation across OECD countries in key features such as in use of fixed vs variable interest rates and typical maturities. The paper then discusses policies that can influence these outcomes. It highlights the scope for encouraging inclusive access to housing through tax-and-spending programmes that are neutral between renting and owning rather than through often very costly tax advantages for mortgage borrowing. The paper finally proposes a novel indicator to measure the balance between the rights of borrowers and lenders. Mortgage markets are deepest in countries where the index shows that creditor and borrower rights are balanced rather than severely tilted to one side.
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14/12/2021
This report reviews key trends in real estate finance since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and the more recent COVID-19 pandemic. It offers an integrated assessment of the shift from structured products to leveraged institutions and collective investment vehicles and puts forward policy considerations to help mitigate procyclicality and excessive risk taking in real estate markets by some entities in the non-bank financial sector.
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13/12/2021
Following a period when homelessness rose in many countries, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted governments across the OECD area to provide unprecedented public support – including to the homeless.How can countries build on this momentum and ensure more durable outcomes? The experience of Finland over the past several decades – during which the country has nearly eradicated homelessness – provides a glimpse of what can be possible with a sustained national strategy and enduring political will.
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08/12/2021
While indices tracing the evolutions of regional house prices are increasingly available, this is less the case for similar data on house price levels. And where data on house price levels exist, they are not necessarily consistent with the patterns observed from house price indices. Yet, consistent regional statistics on house price levels are fundamental to assess housing affordability, potential barriers to labour mobility across regions, and for the design of housing policies. This article puts forward a method to compile regional house price levels that are consistent with the evolutions given by quality-adjusted house price indices, representative of the underlying stock of dwellings, and based on the information on house price levels that is available at all dates rather than in a single reference year. This method could be scaled up to different countries. The results obtained with Spanish data show that the decline in house prices following the global financial crisis of 2008-09 initially reduced the dispersion in house prices across Spanish regions, but this dispersion has increased again afterwards, and since 2016, it exceeds the one recorded in 2008. A comparison of price-per-m² to regional-income ratios shows that the relative housing affordability in the region of Madrid deteriorated compared to all other Spanish regions in the last decade. Monitoring whether shifts in housing demand following the COVID-19 pandemic will reverse this trend will be key.
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03/09/2021
This paper discusses housing challenges facing people with disabilities in OECD and EU countries, and policy supports to make housing more affordable, accessible and adapted to their needs. It focuses on the adult population with disabilities living outside institutions, drawing on data from the European Union Survey of Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), household surveys, national population census and disability surveys, and country responses to the 2021 OECD Questionnaire on Affordable and Social Housing. The paper summarises housing outcomes; discusses policy supports to ensure that people with disabilities can be safely, affordably and independently housed; and outlines actions for policy makers.
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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.
18/01/2021
#Stayhome. #Restezchezvous. #Quedaencasa. The COVID-19 crisis and the recurrent lockdowns have put a spotlight on inequalities in housing quality: while some people experienced lockdown in relatively comfortable conditions, others were struggling with overcrowding or missing access to a computer, the internet or a garden. And bad housing quality also puts people’s health at higher risk.
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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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