Managing the existing housing stock: prospects and problems

by Ira S. Lowry


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback23 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

Dwellings that now exist will house over three-fourths of all Americans at the end of this century. How well this inventory is managed will have more effect on housing quality over the next 20 years than will new residential construction, which annually averages about 2 percent of the inventory. In growing regions, the private market will respond quickly to increased demand for housing by peripheral development and selective improvements in central areas. Outcomes could perhaps be improved by public intervention to force more compact peripheral development and to facilitate recycling urban single-family houses, now occupied by elderly persons, into family use. Overall growth in inventory will help adapt it to current preferences. Declining regions will have a general surplus of housing concentrated in their central cities. Two kinds of public intervention would help these housing markets adjust to their prospects: demolishing the redundant stock, and subsidizing rents for low-income households.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.