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Bridging the Housing Gap in Poland

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  • Rafal Kierzenkowski

    (OECD)

Abstract

Despite a high level of homeownership, the housing market in Poland is suffering from an important shortage. The difference between the number households and available dwellings, the number of dwellings per thousand inhabitants, and the availability of basic amenities (especially in rural areas) all indicate that significant improvements are needed to catch up to the most affluent OECD and EU countries. The formal rental segment of the market is also underdeveloped, contributing to low labour mobility and persistent disparities in regional unemployment. Given the social, economic and political dimensions of the problem, various housing policies implemented since the beginning of the transition process have aimed to fill the housing gap, though they have been either narrow in scope or have led to unclear results. However, the housing market has been buoyant in recent years, spurred by rising levels of GDP per capita, lower interest rates and the emergence of a competitive mortgage market. Yet a brisk price appreciation has also occurred at the same time, while households’ exposure to interest- and exchange-rate risks has significantly increased and banks’ funding capabilities have shrunk. Although the market has not been directly affected by the recent global financial turmoil, recent information shows that a turn-around is underway, with prices declining in several major cities as sentiment has plunged. This raises concerns about the capacity of the market to achieve a smooth adjustment in the face of a possible downturn. Combler le déficit de logements en Pologne Malgré la place importante qu’occupe la propriété, le marché immobilier polonais pâtit d’une importante pénurie de logements. La différence entre le nombre de ménages et le nombre de logements disponibles, la densité de logements par millier d’habitants et l’équipement en éléments de confort de base (en particulier dans les zones rurales) sont autant de facteurs qui témoignent des progrès que la Pologne doit encore accomplir pour se hisser au niveau des pays les plus riches de l’OCDE et de l’Union européenne. Le segment locatif formel est également sous-développé, ce qui contribue à une faible mobilité de la main-d’oeuvre et à la persistance de disparités régionales du chômage. La question du logement ayant une dimension sociale, économique et politique, la plupart des politiques du logement mises en oeuvre depuis le début du processus de transition visaient à combler le déficit de logements, mais avaient une portée insuffisante ou ont eu des résultats mitigés. Il n’en reste pas moins que le marché immobilier a été dynamique ces dernières années, notamment en raison de la hausse du PIB par habitant, de la baisse des taux d’intérêt et de l’apparition d’un marché hypothécaire concurrentiel. Toutefois, dans le même temps, les prix se sont fortement appréciés, tandis que l’exposition des ménages aux risques de taux de change et de taux d’intérêt s’est fortement accrue, ce qui a réduit les capacités de financement des banques. Par ailleurs, bien que le marché polonais n’ait pas été directement touché par les turbulences financières qui ont secoué l’économie mondiale ces derniers temps, de récentes données montrent que le retournement du marché est en cours, les prix ayant baissé dans plusieurs grandes villes à mesure que le climat des affaires se dégradait. Cette situation amène à s’interroger sur la capacité des marchés à réussir un ajustement en douceur en cas de retournement.

Suggested Citation

  • Rafal Kierzenkowski, 2008. "Bridging the Housing Gap in Poland," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 639, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:639-en
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/236314440147
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    Keywords

    house prices; housing market; housing policies; housing supply; mortgage lending; OECD; Poland; property tax; rent regulation; social housing;

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E51 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers
    • P33 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - International Trade, Finance, Investment, Relations, and Aid
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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