Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies

In the Media


Rental Deserts, Segregation, and Zoning

Restrictive zoning and NIMBY attitudes have left nearly a third of neighborhoods across the country with few options for renters. The concentration of rental housing in some neighborhoods and the exclusion of rental options from others reinforces enduring patterns of residential segregation by race and income. In this paper, we use the concept of rental deserts to highlight places that have few rental opportunities for households and define these as neighborhoods where rental units make up less than 20 percent of the housing stock.

The Geography of Pandemic-Era Home Price Trends and the Implications for Affordability

Home prices rose at an unprecedented pace in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic as interest rates fell to record lows, the large cohort of millennials aged increasingly into prime homebuying years, and the supply of housing available for purchase remained limited. Using county-level data from Zillow and the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, this paper shows that home price growth was widespread across market types from March 2020 to March 2023, but increased most rapidly—rising by more than one-third—in rural counties, smaller metro areas, and the lower-density suburbs of large metro areas.

Suburban Housing and Urban Affordability: Evidence from Residential Vacancy Chains

This paper shows how different housing submarkets are linked by residential vacancy chains – the series of moves across housing units initiated by the construction of new housing. Using administrative data on the residential histories of the U.S. population, we compare the characteristics of vacancies created by new suburban single-family homes to those created by new urban multifamily housing. Our results imply that new suburban housing supply has little effect on urban housing affordability or on the welfare of low-income urban households.