The purpose of this paper is to address both the measurement of affordability and variations in affordability between local housing market areas (HMAs).
The practical data issues that arise from measuring local affordability are reviewed by reference to studies in the UK. The paper argues that local measures should relate to a functional geography of HMAs rather than simply local authority boundaries. This approach is shown to be more theoretically sound but faces data constraints. An empirical case study of the North West of England then follows as a demonstration based on a tiered geography of HMAs. It addresses the constraints on local income data by measuring affordability by reference to a particular household type and associated income.
Local UK affordability indicators are shown to be primarily about access to home ownership rather than a wider view of local house price structures on affordability. The paper also draws out the importance of affordability measures linked to functional market areas. The results of the analysis presented highlight that there are local differences in house price structures and hence associated differential affordability of house types between local HMAs.
This is the first study that examines affordability at the local level based on functional areas rather than local authority administrative boundaries. This approach gives a truer picture of the variability in local affordability. The applied analysis tackles the data constraints of functional areas and has the potential to be adapted and extended.
Jones, C., Watkins, C. and Watkins, D. (2011), "Measuring local affordability: variations between housing market areas", International Journal of Housing Markets and Analysis, Vol. 4 No. 4, pp. 341-356. https://doi.org/10.1108/17538271111172148
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