The Demand for Housing Space and Quality

by C. Lance Barnett, Charles W. Noland

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Presents estimated renters' and owners' demand functions for two attributes of housing that together fully compose housing: space and quality. The data came from Brown County, Wisconsin, in 1974, and St. Joseph County, Indiana, in 1975. The findings include: space is a necessity that families buy first, whereas quality is a luxury that families buy once they have satisfied their need for space; larger families buy more space, while households with children tend to buy less space per person than households composed only of adults; and although owners and renters have statistically distinct demand functions, virtually none of the difference in their consumption is attributable to tenure. The equations presented can be helpful to those responsible for designing neighborhood revitalization programs and housing assistance programs, and also to identify the subsidy necessary to induce households to participate in housing assistance programs. Finally, the demand equations can be used to forecast future demand for the attributes of housing.

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