Understanding Residential Housing Markets - Expanding the Contribution of Social Area Analysis
||Understanding Residential Housing Markets - Expanding the Contribution of Social Area Analysis
||Book of Abstracts: 2005 European Real Estate Society conference in association with the International Real Estate Society
||A complete understanding of residential housing markets, particularly in relation to variations in house prices both within and between suburbs, continues to present challenges to property researchers and forecasters. Factors affecting changes in housing demand are not yet completely understood, and accordingly market changes cannot always be confidently predicted. Most urban cities contain precincts that have high or low house values at the same time, regardless of characteristics such as distance to the city centre, location of transport or topography. Exactly why these variations in suburb values occur is often unclear, although local residents are able to easily identify differences between the status of each suburb, especially when one area is clearly perceived as superior to another. Consequently, houses in premium suburbs are sold for substantially more than houses in other areas, primarily due to this perceived higher demand. An understanding of reasons behind varying levels of buyer demand has always been difficult to fully encapsulate in housing studies, even though clear links have been observed between housing affordability and the type of inhabitant that would live in a particular area. This study confirms that traditional economic indicators can not always observe the degree of purchaser and vendor willingness in the residential property market, as per the International Valuation Standards Committee definition of market value, and substantial consideration must also be given to characteristics of individual buyers and sellers within the marketplace. No longer can the focus be narrowly focussed just on endogenous factors such as interest rates and inflation levels. Accordingly, this research draws the disciplines of demography and housing research closer together and looks to social indicators for an insight into the level of house prices. To establish this link, a two-stage process is adopted where social area analysis initially identifies the characteristics of suburbs within an urban area. This information is then used to examine variations in suburb values, resulting in a clearer understanding of the relationship between demographic variables and house prices. This research analysed changes in the value of established residential house prices in Melbourne, Australia as well as the relationship with social structure. The added dimension of time highlighted change, with data drawn from 1996 and 2001. The results confirmed the existence of strong linkages between social constructs and established house prices. Whilst acknowledging that the overall level of house values is influenced by external economic and political factors, differences between suburb values can be explained by demographic variables. The results confirm that increased emphasis must be placed upon demography when seeking to understand variations in residential property values between urban areas.
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