The Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning

Research Project: Housing Policies in the European Union


The conceptual approach involves a systematic comparison of policy goals and instruments as well as their underlying conditions. It is based on a qualitative survey addressed at country-specific experts. The questionnaire will include closed questions e.g. regarding the existence of specific regulations as well as open questions e.g. to describe the functions of financial instruments. It is supplemented with an analysis of secondary statistical data on housing markets to flank the responses of country experts.

The research concept also includes in-depth studies on "Strategies for dealing with the impact of the economic and financial crisis", "Analysis of the competitive conditions between the tenures owner-occupation and rental housing" and "EU activities related to the housing market". For this purpose, case studies will be conducted for selected countries with the help of guided expert interviews in order to deal with specific problems and their causes. The country selection for the case studies relies on different country groupings produced in relation to the respective topics and the previously developed structural characteristics and adaptation dynamics.

Finally, a Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) will be conducted to identify causal conditions for belonging to the previously formed groups. For example, based on theoretical expectations, varying political and institutional configurations are examined in terms of their explanatory power regarding group memberships.


The overall approach can be broken down in three separate tasks:

  1. First, to give a comprehensive overview on housing policy issues in all member states of the EU, using a standardised country profile format. The profiles include constitutive issues, organisational aspects as well as a description of the most important policy instruments and their adaption to actual housing problems in each member state.
  2. Second, to provide deeper insights into specific issues of housing policies, exemplary countries are selected on the basis of problem-centred group formations and examined with the help of guided expert interviews. This in-depth survey will focus on housing issues with a pan-European dimension, e.g. the reform of owner-occupied and rental housing related national housing policies in the aftermath of the financial crisis, or the implementation of EU sectoral policies in the national housing policy.

These tasks will be supported by three international workshops where the respective results will be discussed. Additionally, the project is accompanied by an international advisory board consisting of researchers from across Europe with longstanding experience and expert knowledge in housing research.

Project Flow Chart: Housing Policies in the European Union Project Flow Chart: Housing Policies in the European Union Project Flow Chart: Housing Policies in the European Union

Research questions

  • What are the leading principles for the housing policies of the single EU member states?
  • Which responsibilities do exist in horizontal and vertical dimension?
  • Which actors are relevant for policy-formulation and -implementation?
  • Which sub-segments, target groups and provider structures shape the housing markets and policies in the EU member states?
  • Which policy instruments exist and which importance do they have for housing provision?
  • What does the housing provision in the single EU member states look like and what problems are relevant?
  • Are there reform approaches and trends of instrumental change in the single EU member states?
  • Do convergent and divergent developments between the EU member states exist?
  • Which role does the EU play for national housing policy?

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