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The housing affordability crisis in the advanced economies: drivers, implications, and solutions

In cities across the world, rents and house prices have increased to unprecedented levels making many markets unaffordable, particularly for the lowest income households. But while affordable housing has often been difficult to find for many low-income households, in recent years the problem has begun to encompass households that are not poor, including young professional people. When both low-income and middle-income households are experiencing difficulty finding and affording housing, it is not being overly dramatic to describe it as a ‘crisis’. The nature, causes, manifestations and extent of this new crisis of housing affordability varies between households; and, of course, it also differs between different localities, regions and countries. As a result, this special issue will bring together papers that focus on the nature and drivers of the housing affordability challenge across countries in the advanced economies.[1]

The lack of affordable housing has profound implications for access to housing, tenure security, health and wellbeing, urban development and economic growth, in ways that have been measured and in other ways that are yet to be well-documented. While issues of affordability are common across housing markets, the policy responses can be quite different. At least in part, these differences reflect variation in housing systems, economic structures, welfare state arrangements, governmental configurations and political ideologies; but they also present opportunities for innovative responses that are less bounded by such institutional structures.

This Special Issue explores the topic of affordability in housing markets in advanced economies. We focus on advanced economies because the nature and drivers of housing affordability problems, and the responses to them, are likely to be more comparable. By focusing on a mix of macro dynamics producing the housing affordability crisis, and country-specific policies aimed at addressing this issue, we hope to elucidate the depth and complexity of this crisis, and the broad set of solutions needed to address it. The editors will pay special attention to ensuring the special issue is balanced, meaning there is a diverse, but cohesive, set of papers across topics and regional focus across the advanced economies. Comparative papers and those that explore the drivers of the current housing affordability crisis are of particular interest. All authors will be expected to situate their paper within broader international and interdisciplinary debates in housing studies.

[1] We use a modified version of the International Monetary Fund definition of advanced economies, which includes: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States. 

Guest Editors

Peter Kemp (University of Oxford, UK)

Vincent Reina (University of Pennsylvania, US)

 

Submission guidelines

Offers of proposed papers should be emailed to Vincent Reina at vreina@upenn.edu by November 20, 2019.  They should include the institutional affiliation and contact details of the author(s); a title and an abstract of no more than 500 words.

The guest editors will then notify authors about which abstracts have been selected by December 1, 2019.  Authors of all of the accepted abstracts will be expected to submit their full papers for guest editor review by February 1, 2020.  The guest editors will provide comments and then revised papers will be submitted to the journal’s standard peer-review procedures by April 1, 2020. These papers will go through a traditional double-blind peer-review process.  Due to the urgency of this topic, and the proposed review timeline, there will be no flexibility on deadlines.

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[1] We use a modified version of the International Monetary Fund definition of advanced economies, which includes: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States.