Demographia Housing Affordability Index
Nothing in the world today affects citizens more directly than the home in which they live. And when it comes to housing no piece of recent research opens more interesting avenues of investigation than the Demographia International Housing affordability Survey. This combination of goals sets up some inherent conflicts in every society. What is good for a given
individual or family is not necessarily good for a society as a whole, and what is good for society as a whole is not necessarily good for any given individual or family.
From this fundamental tension has sprung a bewildering set of arrangements for allocating and regulating land and residential structures on it. At one end of the political spectrum have been societies in which land is owned in common and is supposed to be allocated to individuals and families on the basis of
merit or need. Such has been the case with many Utopian and Socialist societies. At the other end of the spectrum have been societies where the individual ownership of land and homes is considered a bedrock condition of a democratic
society, where ownership is widely dispersed, and individual rights and preferences have been zealously safeguarded from all but the most necessary intervention.
Given the obvious importance of housing, what should public policy be and the role of the individual, the developer, governmental agencies? Is there an optimal size for cities, for housing units? How much land should housing occupy? Should housing be separated from or integrated with other uses? Should government promote one kind of residential tenure over another, individual home ownership over rental or various kinds of collective ownership over individual property, for example? Have the citizens of a given city or nation underinvested or overinvested in housing? Are housing prices in line or out of line with individual and family incomes?
In any case, the figures presented in this survey, like the collection of data on demographia.com more generally, are endlessly fascinating and very important. They provide some basis for exploring issues that will figure importantly in discussions of housing policy for decades to come.
Demographia Housing Affordability Index - 2005
Demographia Housing Affordability Index - 2004