The changing determinants of housing affordability in oil-booming agglomerations: a quantile regression investigation from Canada, 1991-2011
Authors: Sinikka Okkola and Cédric Brunelle
Growing evidence suggests that resource-led economic growth generates rising housing prices which make it difficult for low to mid income earners to find adequate, suitable and affordable housing. This research explores how households’ characteristics associated with housing stress evolve in relation to the commodity cycle, and their relative impact along the distribution of accessibility constraints in two resource-driven agglomerations in Canada: St. John’s, Newfoundland, and Fort McMurray, Alberta. Using census microdata, we develop quantile regression models for households in the bottom, median and top quartiles of the housing affordability stress spectrum between 1991 and 2011. We find differentiated effects for households with low, median and high levels of housing stress. The young, lone females, lone parents and people working in low-paid services face increasing housing stress, while this relation sharply degrades over time for households in the highest quartiles. These results provide evidence of emerging vulnerabilities, notably among renters, first-time homebuyers and people outside the labour force.
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