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Does Market-Based Housing Offer Higher Housing Satisfaction to Urban Residents than Other Housing Access in China?

Evidence from the 2005 Beijing Livable City Evaluation Survey

Yizhao Yang, Wenzhong Zhang, Zhilin Liu, and Yao Li

July 2013, English

Tremendous changes have been made to China’s urban housing since the housing policy reform began 30 years ago. These changes can be objectively assessed in terms of housing supply, housing quality, and housing access options available to urban residents. But using residents’ subjective assessment to evaluate the impacts of housing policy reform has been very limited. This paper uses urban residents’ housing satisfaction as a basis to see if housing obtained through post-reform transitional market can deliver higher satisfaction levels to their residents than housing accessed through other options. We take advantage of a large-scale 2005 residential satisfaction survey data that was collected to assess City of Beijing’s livability. Based on more than 6000 sample cases we conduct statistical analysis to study residents’ satisfaction toward their housing in relation to their housing access types.

Our analysis shows that residents who acquired housing through the housing market were more likely to be satisfied with their housing than those living in similar housing that were acquired from other housing options such as affordable housing, past public housing, and replacement housing. Accessing housing in the market can improve the chance of obtaining satisfactory housing especially for low-income residents. Since low-income residents who lived in affordable housing units were less likely to be satisfied with their housing than their counterparts living in market housing, we suggest that a more effective policy to solve low-income residents’ housing problem is to allow them more opportunities to obtain housing through market mechanism (e.g., housing voucher).

Keywords: People’s Republic of China, Housing, Land Use, Planning, Urban, Development, Suburban, Economics