University of Cambridge > > Land Economy Departmental Seminar Series > Understanding the relationship between land use regulation and housing markets in Sydney

Understanding the relationship between land use regulation and housing markets in Sydney

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  • UserProfessor Heather MacDonald, University of Technology Sydney
  • ClockWednesday 11 November 2015, 16:00-17:00
  • HouseMill Lane Lecture Room 1.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Clare Eaves.

Neoliberal state strategies question the extent to which land use planning regulation has distorted the development process, limiting housing supply and thus increasing housing prices. Regulation has been criticised as a compelling explanation for worsening housing affordability, which in turn is argued to have reduced skilled labour supply and dampened economic growth. In this paper, we develop a set of regulatory indicators based on a large scale survey of local land use controls, using Principal Components Analysis to investigate how different types of regulation are associated in particular localities. Indices capture local government use of different types of regulatory approaches, such as environmental prohibitions versus environmental offsets, or permissive mixed use zoning versus housing diversity incentives. We use these indicators to investigate the association between land use regulations and housing price changes in Australia’s most expensive city – Sydney. Housing price trends are estimated using a weighted repeat sales (WRS) analysis of a sample of residential sales concluded between 2006 and 2011. We investigate the question: how do different regulatory approaches affect one key element of affordability – the cost of existing housing? The results offer more detailed insight into the impacts of particular sorts of regulation, contributing to broader debates about state- local tensions, and recent planning reform efforts.


Professor Heather MacDonald is Head of the School of Built Environment, in the Faculty of Design Architecture and Building, at UTS (University of Technology Sydney). She received her PhD in Urban Planning at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey (USA). Her research has focused on affordable housing finance, spatial analysis, and estimating the economic and social impacts of public investments. She has published two books on GIS and urban planning (Unlocking the Census with GIS , 2005, and Urban policy and the Census, 2011), and numerous articles in top-ranked academic journals. Since moving to Sydney in 2008, she has been Chief Investigator on two Australian Research Council Discovery grants. Her recent research has investigated the planning reform process in NSW , the impacts of rail investments on housing prices, the impact of planning regulations on housing affordability, and ethnic discrimination in the Sydney rental market.

This talk is part of the Land Economy Departmental Seminar Series series.

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