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Exploding house prices: five policy options

Economic Comment


Strong house price growth is by no means a post-crisis phenomenon but has been at the centre of economic and societal transformations in almost all advanced economies since the 1980s. More recently, however, more expensive and more unaffordable housing has become increasingly concentrated in urban housing markets, suggesting that the underlying causes of house price appreciation have shifted in a different direction.

Figure 1: Cities break away from the national average
Figure 1: Cities break away from the national averageSource: Statistics Netherlands, Dutch Land Registry

The policy paper attached to this publication has been prepared for the seminar Hot property: the housing market in major cities at De Nederlandsche Bank. It illustrates the concrete processes and underlying mechanisms of these developments in the major cities of the Netherlands. Using these findings we then discuss specific housing and planning policies that could make urban housing markets less volatile and more equitable. These policy proposals revolve around three key themes: how to produce more and more affordable housing units; how to better allocate scarce housing resources among residents and across regions; and how to reduce the speculative element in contemporary housing markets.

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