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Is Housing Unaffordable? Why Isn't It More Affordable?

  • Quigley, John M.
  • Raphael, Steven

This paper reviews trends in housing affordability in the U.S. over the past four decades. There is little evidence that owner-occupied housing has become less affordable. In contrast, there have been modest increases in the fraction of income that the median renter household devotes to housing. We find pronounced increases in the rent burdens for poor households. We explore the low-income rental market, analyzing the importance of changes in the income distribution, and in housing quality in affecting rent burdens. We conclude that zoning and land use restrictions are more important factors driving up rents. We also sketch out some policies that might improve housing affordability.

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Paper provided by Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy in its series Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series with number qt1vp9j3k0.

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Date of creation: 16 Jun 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:bphupl:qt1vp9j3k0
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  1. Henry O. Pollakowski & Susan M. Wachter, 1990. "The Effects of Land-Use Constraints on Housing Prices," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 66(3), pages 315-324.
  2. Mayo, Stephen K., 1981. "Theory and estimation in the economics of housing demand," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 95-116, July.
  3. DiPasquale, Denise & Glaeser, Edward L., 1999. "Incentives and Social Capital: Are Homeowners Better Citizens?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 354-384, March.
  4. Richard K. Green, 1997. "Land Use Regulation and the Price of Housing in a Suburban Wisconsin County," Wisconsin-Madison CULER working papers 97-04, University of Wisconsin Center for Urban Land Economic Research.
  5. John M. Quigley & Steven Raphael & Eugene Smolensky, 2001. "Homeless In America, Homeless In California," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 37-51, February.
  6. Quigley, John M., 2002. "A Decent Home: Housing Policy in Perspective," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt8f57x42q, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
  7. Thorson, James A., 1997. "The Effect of Zoning on Housing Construction," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 81-91, March.
  8. Donald R. Haurin & Toby L. Parcel & R. Jean Haurin, 2002. "Does Homeownership Affect Child Outcomes?," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 30(4), pages 635-666.
  9. Maclennan, Duncan & Muellbauer, John & Stephens, Mark, 1999. "Asymmetries in Housing and Financial Market Institutions and EMU," CEPR Discussion Papers 2062, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Sweeney, James L., 1974. "A commodity hierarchy model of the rental housing market," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 288-323, July.
  11. Richard Voith, 1999. "Does the federal tax treatment of housing affect the pattern of metropolitan development?," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Mar, pages 3-16.
  12. Richard K. Green & Stephen Malpezzi & Stephen K. Mayo, 2005. "Metropolitan-Specific Estimates of the Price Elasticity of Supply of Housing, and Their Sources," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 334-339, May.
  13. Harvey S. Rosen & Kenneth T. Rosen & Douglas Holtz-Eakin, 1983. "Housing Tenure, Uncertainty, and Taxation," NBER Working Papers 1168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Albert Saiz, 2003. "Room in the Kitchen for the Melting Pot: Immigration and Rental Prices," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 502-521, August.
  15. Christopher J. Mayer & C. Tsuriel Somerville, . "Land Use Regulation and New Construction," Zell/Lurie Center Working Papers 331, Wharton School Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center, University of Pennsylvania.
  16. Stephen Malpezzi & Richard K. Green, 1995. "What’s Happened to the Bottom of the Housing Market?," Wisconsin-Madison CULER working papers 95-16, University of Wisconsin Center for Urban Land Economic Research.
  17. Stephen Malpezzi, 1994. "Housing Prices, Externalities, and Regulation in U.S. Metropolitan Areas," Wisconsin-Madison CULER working papers 94-08, University of Wisconsin Center for Urban Land Economic Research.
  18. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2003. "The impact of building restrictions on housing affordability," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jun, pages 21-39.
  19. O'Flaherty, B., 1995. "An Economic Theory of Homelessness and Housing," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 13-49, March.
  20. James A. Thorson, 1996. "An Examination of the Monopoly Zoning Hypothesis," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(1), pages 43-55.
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