Housing Barometer

The Housing Barometer is a tool to support a rapid analysis of the housing sector. It provides a quick overview of the housing sector that feeds directly into the housing policy formulation process. The Housing Barometer relies on qualitative assessments rather than data and empirical evidences.

It expresses the views and perceptions of its users – policy makers, decision makers and housing practitioners – about the performance of the various subsectors of the housing sector. The result of housing sector analysis through the Housing Barometer gives an immediate visualization of the performance of the housing sector by means of scoring given to each dimension and sub-sector of the Housing Sector in the Excel workbooks that results at the end into a visual diamond of the housing barometer in the context that it is being applied. The scoring of each question helps to calculate the final results of each sub-dimension and the visualization in the final diamond figure.

The Housing Barometer is available to utilize on this page. Start by filling in the below questions. You can also download the materials:

Description - high resolution
Description - low resolution
Usage guide - English
Usage guide - Spanish
Housing Barometer tool - English
Housing Barometer tool - Spanish

What country do you live in? (required)

What city do you live in? (required)

Survey ID (if you have been given one, otherwise skip this)

You have to fill in your city

Please indicate to what extent you agree or disagree with the following statements, on a scale to 0-5, in which the numbers correspond to:

0 Not yet in place Does not exist, but it is urgent to implement it No evidence Extremely unclear No, never
1 It is in process Does not exist, but it needs to be implemented Some evidence, but unreliable Unclear No, but it's in process
2 It exists, but it is not regulated yet Does not exist, but it would be useful to consider implementing it Little evidence Somewhat unclear Yes, but rarely
3 It exists, it is regulated, but it is not implemented yet Does not exist, but there are plans to implement it Some evidence Somewhat clear Yes, sometimes
4 It exists, it is regulated, it is implemented, but it does not function properly Does not exist, and the lack thereof does not have a negative impact Moderate evidence Clear Yes, often
5 It exists, it is regulated, it is implemented, and it functions properly Does not exist, and does not apply in my country Strong evidence Extremely clear Yes, always

Institutional and legal framework

There is an official housing policy document that outlines government policies, responsibilities and institutions, programs, finance as well as the overall governance of the housing sector in the country.

The government housing policy was publicly consulted with civil society by large as well as in parliament before its approval by government and the respective legislative institution (parliament, congress, senate, the house of representatives, national assembly).

The housing sector has a dedicated institution to lead the housing policy formulation and implementation in the country.

The housing policy receives a budgetary allocation to secure its implementation.

There are different housing programmes designed and/or under-implementation which address different target groups and/or housing problems.

There is an established government policy towards the existing informal housing stock (slums, informal settlements, illegal buildings, etc.).

The government’s housing policy includes a strategy towards homeownership as well as rental housing.

There are mechanisms to prevent forced displacement.

There is a regulation that provides for adequate compensation in case of forced displacement.

The government’s housing policy recognises, protects and adopts measures for the realization of the right to adequate housing as formulated in the Habitat Agenda (1996) and the New Urban Agenda (2016), which is also referenced in the national constitution.

There is a building code that spells out standards, norms and regulations for housing and residential buildings which are adopted, enacted, regulated, inspected and legally enforced by a government institution.

The Civil Code outlines property rights and legal provisions protecting the purchase, sale and disposal of immovable properties, housing and real estate assets.

There is legislation that provides for expropriation and/or eminent domain type of bylaws that gives power to governments to expropriate land and private properties for the public good.

There are specific institutional and regulatory provisions that regulate the practice of urban planning and land-use ordinances, including the obligation for cities to have a master plan/urban plan/structure plan/urban development plan.

There are statutory urban planning regulations defining urban planning norms and standards to be adopted by cities, which may restrict or facilitate the use, occupation and allocation of land for housing and building purposes.

There is a legal provision regulating multi-family housing, including the compulsory membership of homeowners to homeowner’s associations/condominium associations, including financial contributions for housing maintenance and management

There is law regulating the operation of property management companies in the housing market to ensure that there is professional housing maintenance and management in the multifamily housing stock

There is a policy and legislation that makes compulsory the establishment of homeowner’s association/condominium associations for the management, maintenance and renovation of multifamily housing.

There is legal provision for foreclosure which is enforced by court and law enforcement to ensure that lenders/banks/ can repossess mortgaged properties financed by loans/credits whenever borrowers default on the payment of the amortization of their loans/mortgages to financial institutions/creditors.

There are non-profit housing providers such as housing association and/or housing cooperatives that mobilise finance and potential residents to make housing affordable for low income households.

There is a national legislation that regulates urban planning and design, indicating parameters and standards for land sub-division, residential plots, areas for communal and public spaces and other residential services, helping to steer planned urbanization and provision of land development for housing and residential use, which is enacted and enforced locally and nationally.

There are public and/or private institutions that provide and promote financial assistance, subsidies and housing/shelter assistance for homeless people.

Urban land

Customary land ownership, tribal and traditional landholdings are recognised and attached to property rights regime and used to resolve land rights disputes and planning practices within the land and real estate markets in the country.

There are multiple legal institutes to ensure rights over the use and disposal of land, employed by the government, such as individual and title deeds, land lease, land-use rights, community land trust and usufruct allocations when developing and/or allocating land for housing and other land-use planning and building purposes.

The legislation that regulates land subdivision, parcelling, urban planning and overall urbanisation processes adopts a legally defined parameters and a minimum/standard plot size for residential/housing purpose.

There are mechanisms for supply of land for urbanization and a land delivery process that meets the demand for land and infrastructure in the urbanized areas of the country and accompanies the demographic growth of the population.

There is an informal land supply systems and/or processes of land occupation and unplanned land development schemes which is not adequately addressed/recognized by governments.

The institutional mechanisms and regulatory frameworks in place allows for relatively easy land acquisition and land supply which encourages planned development and discourages Informal land markets and illegal handling of land.

The stock of land and the availability of land for urban development is known, is adequately recorded and reasonably managed, organised and administered in the form of a land information system, a cadastre or property registry, which provides legal transparency and safety for the housing and real estate market, encouraging its well-functioning.

Land prices are within the margins of affordability vis-á-vis household incomes and their ability and willingness to pay and there is no pervasive speculation with land.

There is land rent, land property tax, land lease fees or any kind of property tax enforced on occupants/owners of the urban land and/or housing property.

Forced evictions, forced displacement and court cases are rarely used by Governments to expel residents of formal or informal neighbourhoods, resulting into greater tolerance for Informal settlements, illegal buildings and informal occupations of land.

Land-use rights are well-protected, documented and recognized by the housing and real estate markets and there are institutions and legal instruments to enable housing finance institutions to provide loans, mortgage finance and different credits, including collateral laws in case of default and the repossession of mortgaged properties, as well as legal protections of borrowers and housing consumers.

There is legal provision regulating and/or restricting the amount of land held by one individual in urban areas or any policy enforced to avoid monopoly in land ownership and speculation in the land and real estate market.

The government has at its disposal a variety of land management instruments and land-based finance tools to manage and allocate land for housing and urban development such as land readjustment, land value capture, betterment charges, property tax, etc. which are backed up by legislation and enacted laws.

There are institutions, private or public, that undertake market surveys with certain regularity and publicise land values, land markets outcomes, land price gradients that help to inform housing consumers and the housing industry as a whole about choices, locations, the price of a parcel of land in a determined location, making the market more transparent and without asymmetry of information.

The real estate market is well established and regulated with multiple institutions such as developers, real estate agents, associations of real estate markets players that offer wide opportunities for a well-functioning housing and real estate market that offer opportunities for all.

Infrastructure

There are utility companies, institutions and organisations, public and/or private, that are responsible for the provision of basic infrastructure such as water, sewerage, electricity, drainage, heating, cable TV, internet, public works, roads, with their roles well-defined by government bylaws and the governance systems regulating and governing the sector.

The amount of housing units connected to the various infrastructure networks (powerlines, potable water supply, sewerage, drainage, roads, fibre optic, etc.) is recorded, mapped and properly administered and consumption is measured and charged for, and there is enforcement laws to curb default and illegal connections.

The cost of and the tariff for potable water consumption is well-established through meters and counters at every plot/housing and tariff collection is well-established.

The total bill for recurrent household expenditures on basic infrastructure remains within affordable values for most households and therefore accessible for everyone.

The majority of the population and households have access to water, electricity and all other basic infrastructure such as sewerage, solid waste collection, gas/heating service etc., and this is adequately monitored and reported with certain regularity.

The government has investment programmes to expand the provision of basic infrastructure (water, sewerage, electricity, drainage, heating, gas, internet fiberglass, etc.) aiming to extend the networks to all residents (for future universal coverage).

The cost of infrastructure provision and tariffs are available in a transparent manner and it is published with certain regularity in specialized housing, real estate, construction magazines and newspapers.

The government maintains specific sources of public funding, similar to development funds, revolving funds or trust funds that provides regular and predictable funding to finance the expansion of basic infrastructure in a continuous/regular manner.

There are regular inspection procedures to detect losses and problems in the infrastructure networks, showing the existence of maintenance and management procedures, including the detection of illegal connections to the networks, and when discovered, measures such as fines and/or disconnections are enforced according to local practices of utility companies.

There is legislation to support privatization of infrastructure provision and there exist different forms of incentives for private sector participation in basic infrastructure provision, including PPP, BOT, etc.

There is a significant amount of urban households and firms disconnected from basic infrastructure such as piped water, sewerage systems and power lines, as revealed by reports and evidences from research that are published in academic reports, press/newspapers, and recognized by the government.

Investments derived from selective infrastructure development programmes are causing impact in housing markets and affecting affordability and accessibility to housing.

There is practice of data collection and monitoring in the infrastructure sector nationally and locally, with information and data available in disaggregated form (or not) demonstrating the status of infrastructure provision in the country and cities.

Tariffs, fees and user’s charges do exist and are collected regularly and effectively in different ways by utility companies responsible for these networks, and these can in principle cover part or all the costs for maintenance and management of the networks, potentially enabling the expansion of basic infrastructure.

The tariffs, fees and user's charges for infrastructure provision are regulated by the government and/or specialized agency which exercises monitoring of price increases according to the economy of the country.

There are policies on urban mobility adopted by the government and there is close linkage between housing provision and public transport, which reveals positive approaches to accessibility to new housing, residential areas and urban expansions.

Building materials

There are utility companies, institutions and organisations, public and/or private, that are responsible for the provision of basic infrastructure such as water, sewerage, electricity, drainage, heating, cable TV, internet, public works, roads, with their roles well-defined by government bylaws and the governance systems regulating and governing the sector.

The amount of housing units connected to the various infrastructure networks (powerlines, potable water supply, sewerage, drainage, roads, fibre optic, etc.) is recorded, mapped and properly administered and consumption is measured and charged for, and there is enforcement laws to curb default and illegal connections.

The cost of and the tariff for potable water consumption is well-established through meters and counters at every plot/housing and tariff collection is well-established.

The total bill for recurrent household expenditures on basic infrastructure remains within affordable values for most households and therefore accessible for everyone.

The majority of the population and households have access to water, electricity and all other basic infrastructure such as sewerage, solid waste collection, gas/heating service etc., and this is adequately monitored and reported with certain regularity.

The government has investment programmes to expand the provision of basic infrastructure (water, sewerage, electricity, drainage, heating, gas, internet fiberglass, etc.) aiming to extend the networks to all residents (for future universal coverage).

The cost of infrastructure provision and tariffs are available in a transparent manner and it is published with certain regularity in specialized housing, real estate, construction magazines and newspapers.

The government maintains specific sources of public funding, similar to development funds, revolving funds or trust funds that provides regular and predictable funding to finance the expansion of basic infrastructure in a continuous/regular manner.

There are regular inspection procedures to detect losses and problems in the infrastructure networks, showing the existence of maintenance and management procedures, including the detection of illegal connections to the networks, and when discovered, measures such as fines and/or disconnections are enforced according to local practices of utility companies.

There is legislation to support privatization of infrastructure provision and there exist different forms of incentives for private sector participation in basic infrastructure provision, including PPP, BOT, etc.

There is a significant amount of urban households and firms disconnected from basic infrastructure such as piped water, sewerage systems and power lines, as revealed by reports and evidences from research that are published in academic reports, press/newspapers, and recognized by the government.

Investments derived from selective infrastructure development programmes are causing impact in housing markets and affecting affordability and accessibility to housing.

There is practice of data collection and monitoring in the infrastructure sector nationally and locally, with information and data available in disaggregated form (or not) demonstrating the status of infrastructure provision in the country and cities.

Tariffs, fees and user’s charges do exist and are collected regularly and effectively in different ways by utility companies responsible for these networks, and these can in principle cover part or all the costs for maintenance and management of the networks, potentially enabling the expansion of basic infrastructure.

The tariffs, fees and user's charges for infrastructure provision are regulated by the government and/or specialized agency which exercises monitoring of price increases according to the economy of the country.

There are policies on urban mobility adopted by the government and there is close linkage between housing provision and public transport, which reveals positive approaches to accessibility to new housing, residential areas and urban expansions.

Housing finance

There are several housing finance institutions in the country that provide mortgage loans, housing credit and other forms of financial services which offer different options and services for the population and result in positive competition in the housing sector which is beneficial for the demand for housing.

There is a low percentage of undocumented and insecure land holdings, undocumented income, unregulated building construction which lower the risks attached to loans, mortgages and credits and thus stimulates housing finance institutions to engage in housing finance services in the country.

The existence and availability of subsidies in the forms of grants, bonus, vouchers or preferential credits that meet the demand of the poor sector of society, people with low incomes, enabling them to have access to affordable housing finance and thus facilitating accessibility to adequate housing

There are foreclosure laws and regulations that are enforced by justice, so that lenders, banks and financial institutions can repossess mortgaged properties in case of default of borrowers within a reasonable amount of time.

The central bank and/or similar national finance institution regulates and enforces regulations on the housing finance industry, supervising housing finance institutions, including the determination of interest rates applied to housing loans.

The average amount of money that people can borrow from financial institutions/creditors/lenders through loans and mortgages in relation to their income and ability to pay is defined, affordable, regulated and practiced by banks/lenders and enforced by legislation, helping to avoid financial overburden on households and risk loans for lenders.

There are different types of housing mortgage with different financial constructions and maturity periods of the loans that are provided by housing finance institutions, making loans and mortgages largely accessible in the country.

There are micro-credit institutions that provide micro-credit services for housing and this is accessible by a large percentage of the population in the country.

There is data and information available about the size of the market for micro-loans and the number of micro-financing institutions (MFIs) active in the country.

There is a secondary housing mortgage market in the country, with institutions and laws regulating securitization and investors and financial institutions are actively involved in this market.

The basic legislation that is in place and the law enforcement capacity stimulate banks/lenders and individuals and firms to borrow and lend, and engage in mortgage and loan agreements.

Most banks and housing finance institutions have standard procedures to determine affordability and/or ability to pay for housing finance, helping to define eligibility and procedures to apply to and get approved requests for loans and credits in the market.

There is sufficient knowledge and information available in the marketplace via magazines, newsletters, government publications, etc. about housing prices, household and individual incomes as well as the ability to pay for housing.

Despite some evidences about the existence of informal loan/credit practices, the size of the informal market of loans and credits is negligible and people are encouraged to formally apply for loans in official/legal/accredited financial institutions.

There are several international companies active in the housing and real estate market linking the local/national housing and real estate market with the international capital market and there is legislation to regulate the institutions and businesses actively involved in this type of housing investments.

There are initiatives, public debate, government intentions and/or adopted measures aiming at the regulation of the rental housing supply of online hospitality companies or any other form of rental practices that makes housing inaccessible to the local population.

The size of the housing finance industry is relevant and plays an important role in macroeconomic development and the overall economy of the country.

Labour provision

Building codes, norms and technical standards regulate the building construction activities in the country and is included in vocational training and capacity building of the labour force involved in the housing and civil construction sector.

Builders, construction companies, developers receive different kinds of government incentives (policy, financial, land, fiscal, etc.) to build affordable housing at scale and provide employment opportunities for the population.

There is practice of self-built housing in the country and there are different types of enterprises and service providers to support homeowners to build and/or improve their homes and there is data and information about it in the country.

There is enough information about the labour force in the country that indicate specializations, capacity, training modalities, quality control, etc.

There are federations, associations or unions to organise the labour force and defend the interests of its members helping to regulate salaries, work hours’ rates, job security, safety issues, etc.

The proportion of labour costs in relation to the total cost of building a housing unit is reasonable and/or compatible with the level of development of the construction sector and the housing industry.

The building industry and the construction sector demonstrate innovations in building techniques and building knowledge with certain regularity that is absorbed by the labour force and put into practice in the housing building industry.

Building and builders are evaluated on their activities, outcomes and skills in relation to issues of climate change mitigation and resilience.

There are specialized centres and higher education and professional training institutions that provide vocational and practical training and education for builders and construction workers to develop and apply technologies, materials and efficiency measures in building/housing construction and use of materials, showing a continuous effort to improve quality, performance and price.

The construction and building materials industry has established standard procedures for certification and protection of specializations/know-how of workers and builders which encourages quality control, standardization and client protection.

The building and construction industry provides employment for a sizeable population and contributes significantly to the GDP of the country.

The marketplace has available information (specialized magazines, newsletters, union reports, online resources, etc.) about the quantity and quality of the labour force engaged in the building industry and construction sector.

The labour force in the building materials and construction industry is formalized, and the employment, contracts and salaries are protected under laws that are enforced by government regulators.

There is adequate information in the marketplace for self-builders about the building materials, technologies, techniques and construction sector as well as about the use of building materials on the percentage of labour related to the use of technology and other relevant information that help to guide self-builders as well as construction companies.

The level of unemployment in the building materials sector and the construction industry is relatively low and there is no shortage of labour (skilled or unskilled labour) in the building materials and construction industry, helping to avoid distortions in labour supply for the housing industry which would affect housing prices and affordability.



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