The Definition of Housing Market Areas and Strategic Planning

The Definition of Housing Market Areas and Strategic Planning
Colin Jones
[Paper Žrst received, March 1999; in Ž nal form, August 2001]
Summary. The purpose of this paper is to develop the concept of a housing market area, thereby provide insights into our understanding of the sub-regional structures of the housing system and hence propose a framework for strategic planning research in the housing market. To tackle this task, it is Ž rst necessary to consider the criteria for a local housing market area. The paper begins by reviewing previous deŽ nitions by both academics and planners, and their underlying assumptions. Based on the principle of spatial arbitrage, a local housing market area is deŽ ned by reference to criteria linked to migration self-containment. Paralels are drawn with the principles that have been applied to deŽ ne a system of spatial labour markets using travel-to-work areas. This spatial arbitrage deŽ nition is tested empiricaly by developing a system of housing market areas for west central Scotland using data derived from the Land Registry. Finaly, the paper draws together the empirical Ž ndings to discuss the nature of spatial housing markets and the implications for strategic planning. It argues that the establishment of a geography of functional housing market areas represents the Ž rst step in the development of systematic planning research.

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