World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Addressing Complex Housing Policy Challenges Should Be A Central Priority For Governments, OECD Says

Access to affordable and decent housing is vital for good health, job opportunities and life satisfaction, but housing remains one of the most complex policy challenges facing societies today. Governments must do more to ensure universal access to affordable, high-quality, environmentally sustainable housing, according to the OECD.

The COVID-19 crisis has uncovered how unevenly housing is distributed across population groups, and has worsened the adverse impacts of poor housing conditions, notably on the most vulnerable.

Launched in 2018, a wide-ranging OECD Housing Project has gathered comparative evidence, analysis and policy recommendations to help governments make housing more affordable, more energy-efficient and better adapted to people’s needs.

“Housing is much more than just a place to live,” said OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann. “It is the single largest household budget item and a key element in both economic performance and well-being.”

“The OECD Housing Policy Toolkit we are presenting today will help policymakers design better housing policies that address the reality of developments in housing markets, such as the affordability challenge, and improve the considerable effect housing policy has across societies,” Mr Cormann said.

With housing prices in many countries rising dramatically - lodging costs now absorb more than a third of the budget of the poorest 20%, compared with only a quarter of the budget of the top 20% - and public investment at historically low levels, four key priority areas emerge from the Toolkit.

First, unlocking additional supply will be key to meeting both current and future housing challenges. More public investment in energy-efficient social housing would ease housing difficulties, especially for households on low or unstable incomes. Building green social housing can also act as a catalyst for the energy transition of the construction industry as a whole.

Second, land-use reforms, such as the removal of overly tight building restrictions or minimum parcel size requirements, can reduce obstacles to new residential construction. Decisions on land use and planning must be made based on the needs of whole metropolitan areas rather than via a piecemeal district-by-district approach. Such reforms would put a brake on the strong upward trend in real house prices that has been widespread among OECD countries for the past four decades.

Third, greater flexibility in regulations over landlord-tenant relations, including rent control, can encourage investment in housing. Over the past year, these restrictions have been tightened to protect tenants hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis. Over time, the Toolkit’s overview report notes, such measures can discourage the supply of rental housing, ultimately making access to rental more difficult, especially for those on low or unstable incomes.

Fourth, application of stringent environmental standards, to achieve agreed greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and upgrade the energy efficiency of the existing housing stock, will be essential. This may put upward pressure on housing construction costs or rental prices, but these investments will translate to lower heating costs and preserve the long-term value of the houses.

The Housing Policy Toolkit includes:

  • An overview report, Brick by Brick: Building Better Housing Policies, which identifies policy levers that can enhance the efficiency, inclusiveness or sustainability of housing markets. It highlights ways to bring progress across these objectives and also discusses addressing trade-offs that can arise among them.
  • A Dashboard of Housing Indicators, which gathers indicators allowing policymakers to compare outcomes and policy settings across countries by topic.
  • A set of Country Snapshots offering national overviews of housing conditions and policies.

Further information on OECD Housing Week, 14-18 June 2021

A central policy objective of the OECD Housing Project is to ensure access to quality housing at affordable cost. Recent progress can be charted with new updates to cross-country indicators in the OECD Affordable Housing Database, covering the housing market, housing conditions and affordability, and public policies to facilitate affordable housing in more than 40 countries worldwide.

The update to the Affordable Housing Database will be released Wednesday 16 June.

OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann will deliver opening remarks to a high-level housing policy roundtable on Wednesday 16 June, beginning at 14:00 CEST (12:00 GMT), followed by a keynote speech by Italy’s Minister for Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility Enrico Giovannini.

The first panel, Mobilising the OECD Housing Policy Toolkit to future-proof housing markets, from 14:10 to 15:25, will include a presentation by Luiz de Mello, Director of Policy Studies in the OECD Economics Dept., followed by a panel discussion with various ministerial and high-level speakers.

A second panel, Investing in affordable and social housing to facilitate an inclusive economic recovery, from 15:25 to 16:30, will include introductory remarks by Stefano Scarpetta, OECD Director for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, followed by a panel discussion with global housing policy experts.

To register for the Housing Policy Roundtable, please go to:

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Tale Of Two Pandemics: Follow The Science And Do Not Forget One At The Cost Of The Other

Covid-19 has posed innumerable health, economic, and social challenges for all, including people living with HIV. It has exposed the fragility of health systems around the globe and has diverted political attention and funding from other infectious diseases like TB and HIV... More>>

UN: Rights Chief Calls For Prompt Release Of Protestors Held In Cuba
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday called for the prompt release of protestors and journalists detained during anti-government demonstrations in Cuba, some of whom are being held incommunicado... More>>

Scarce Goods: Isolating Daraa Al-Balad Threatens 40,000 With Starvation

The siege imposed by the Syrian government forces on Daraa al-Balad since June 24 would lead to serious humanitarian repercussions if it continues, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a statement on July 15, calling for lifting the siege urgently and allowing the entry of basic humanitarian supplies... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Shaping The Future Of Food Systems: Thousands Commit To Dialogues Amidst The COVID-19 Pandemic

More than 130 governments are making food systems a top priority amid the pandemic and committing to an unprecedented programme of Dialogues in the run up to the UN Food Systems Summit in September... More>>

UN: Play:Fair For People And Planet – A Major United Nations Music Activation
organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign in partnership with Music Innovation Hub, Keychange, the city of Milan, the Milan Triennale, and partners from the SDG Music Network, will be held at an unexpected location in the center of Milan, Italy, taking into account safety measures with a limited on-site audience consisting of activists and fans... More>>

UN: Next 18 Months Seen As Pivotal In Global Efforts To Achieve Key Goals

Next 18 months seen as pivotal in global efforts to reverse punishing pandemic impacts and boost actions to achieve key goals - Even as pandemic erases decades of gains in development, response efforts show signs of renewed global commitment to accelerate SDG progress... More>>