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Housing Markets and Planning Policy

Colin Jones, Craig Watkins

ISBN: 978-1-405-17520-3 October 2009 Wiley-Blackwell 224 Pages


Housing systems in many countries are now more market-oriented than ever before. This is particularly true of the UK, where there is heightened interest in the ability of the market to deliver new housing, as well as considerable debate among housing academics and policy makers over the extent to which policy instruments can be used to steer market processes. This increased market orientation means a greater understanding of market economics is needed.

The challenges of providing affordable housing, while simultaneously addressing the problems of low demand housing in some areas, together with the revitalisation of neighbourhoods in need of renewal, also underline the need for a better understanding of the structure and operation of housing markets at local and neighbourhood level.

This timely contribution to the field addresses the main housing and planning policy challenges in the UK today. It does so by examining the structure and operation of the urban housing system and then exploring both conceptual and empirical analyses of the workings of the market. The authors then consider the lessons for policy makers, discussing the limitations of the policy framework and considering the strategies for integrating market information into the analysis undertaken in practice.

Housing Markets & Planning Policy is an invaluable advanced text for students of land economy, land management, urban planning, housing and urban studies. The authors provide a uniquely detailed analysis of an important policy area that builds on a strong theoretical basis drawn from housing economics. With the challenges posed by the instability of the housing market, it will be of particular interest to academic researchers, policy-makers and housing and planning practitioners.


1 Introduction.

One housing market or many housing markets?

Housing markets and planning policy.

The analytical approach.

Aims and objectives.

The structure of the book.

2 The Housing Problem.


Housing market trends.

Spatial house price trends.


Economics of the house building industry.

Low-demand areas.

Wider planning policy context.


3 Spatial Structure of Housing Markets.

A model of an urban housing market.

The theoretical impact of planning.

Empirical evidence on the impact of planning.

Planning the housing market.

Housing market areas and processes.

Case studies of HMAs.

Implications of HMAs for planning.


4 Understanding Housing Submarkets.

Origins of housing submarket studies.

Theoretical basis for housing submarkets.

Defi ning and identifying housing submarkets.

Temporal dynamics of housing submarkets.

Modelling submarket structures.

Conclusions: submarkets as an analytical framework.

5 Dynamics of the Housing Market.

Choices and constraints.

Migration and spatial house price trends.

New house building, urban form and local housing.

market dynamics.

Intra-urban housing market dynamics.

Neighbourhood dynamics.

Neighbourhood succession.

Neighbourhood revitalisation.


6 Planning for the Housing Market.

Spatial change, planning and housing.

The evolution of planning for housing markets.

Current practice in planning for housing.

The operation of the planning system.

Reconciling the evidence: broader political and policy concerns.


7 Planning Policies and the Market.

Planning policies and the market.

The changing housing policy context.

Provision of affordable housing.

Encouraging social mix.

Sustainable development.


8 Conclusions and the Way Forward.

Current and future housing market context.

The contemporary policy agenda and the housing challenge.

Towards a framework for housing analysis.

Reshaping the system of planning for housing.

Local housing market analysis and panning practice.

The challenge to planning and the way forward.



"For an academic audience, and as a teaching vehicle, the book has much to commend it. There are excellent summaries of many aspects of the application of economic theory to housing and planning issues. This includes very clear expositions of the theory and application of housing market areas, housing submarkets and the dynamics of housing markets. " (Journal of Housing and the Built Environment,
18 April 2011)

"Overall, Housing Markets & Planning Policy is a contribution worth reading, as it addresses the conundrum many planners and policy-makers face across the globe- how to control sprawl by limiting development while also tackling affordability problems by encouraging new building. This book provides much sophisticated food for thought as we enter the new decade." (International Journal of Housing Policy, September 2010)

  • Provides an economic analysis of policy areas and planning instruments
  • Deconstructs housing markets to help explain their dynamics
  • Reveals the limitations of contemporary UK planning policy
  • Shows how policy makers can incorporate market evidence into the planning process