Nonmetropolitan America in Transition

By Amos H. Hawley; Sara Mills Mazie | Go to book overview

Wilbur R.Thompson James J. Mikesell


14
Housing Supply and Demand

Most would agree that, lacking a direct measure of wealth, income is the single best indicator of material well-being; but for most households housing "condition" would be the next best measure. Housing in rural areas is generally perceived to be inferior, in large part because incomes are lower there. But one of the main purposes of this chapter is to look beyond income as it limits access to housing, into the comparative price of housing (corrected for quantity and quality differences) in places large and small, to see if rural households are twice burdened by both income and cost.

Because we add only about 2 percent to our housing stock each year, most of us live in housing that was built a few or many years ago. Because many of us are second, third, or later users of our residence, the nature of house "filtering" is examined in some detail. Filtering theory deserves review not only because of its inherent importance but also because it was conceived in a big city context and has not been reconsidered and modified to fit smaller places.

Finally, our attention turns to the impact of growth on local housing markets, both because rapid growth and decline leave in their wake housing shortages and surpluses and because smaller local economies would seem likely to experience greater variations in rate of growth in employment, population, and households.

The opening section begins by reviewing, in a matterof-fact way, the housing picture in metro and nonmetro America, describing some of the differences in housing

____________________

The authors wish to acknowledge the ideas and general feel for this topic which were gained from Ronald Bird talk, "Status of Housing in Nonmetropolitan Areas," presented at the National Agricultural Outlook Conference in Washington, D.C., 14 November 1978; and from a background paper, "Rural Housing," written in 1979 by Earl W. Morris and Mary Winter of Iowa State University.

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