Rents and not Mortgages should be housing policy in developing countries
Professor Alan Gilbert works with UN to warn that home-ownership is not the way to house the urban poor in developing countries.
Professor Alan Gilbert is currently working with UN-HABITAT to produce a short guide for housing policy-makers. UN-HABITAT is the United Nations agency which works to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.
Professor Gilbert’s guide is based on his 2003 report Rental Housing: an essential guide for the urban poor in developing countries. The guide is an attempt to modify government thinking about housing tenure and to convince housing authorities to resist the temptation to encourage home-ownership even when it is obvious that many households will never be able to own their own homes.
The guide attempts to advise on ways to encourage rental housing and what is wrong with existing policy. While intended principally for policy-makers in poorer cities, the guide could also be useful to housing policy-makers in Britain and the US. Events like the sub-prime mortgage crisis, a global financial panic caused intially by American banks’ over-zealous lending to poor people who could not repay their debts, have shown that there is an urgent need for housing policies to be re-thought in richer countries.
The guide will be issued in January 2008.