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Room for Development: Housing Markets in Latin America and the Caribbean

Room for Development: Housing Markets in Latin America and the Caribbean

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Latin American and Caribbean countries are the most urban in the developing world and have very high home ownership rates. Many cities in the region also show high average family incomes for developing world standards. However, despite these accomplishments, many of the region's inhabitants are still poorly housed. Of the 124 million families living in the region's cities, five million rely on another family for shelter; three million live in houses that are beyond repair; and a remaining 31 million live in houses that lack either title, water, sewerage, adequate flooring, or sufficient space. Most of these dwellings and many more otherwise satisfactory homes are located in neighborhoods that lack many basic urban amenities. This book looks at both the determinants and consequences of these poor housing outcomes. Housing and neighborhood conditions strongly influence health, nutrition, education, and environmental outcomes, along with access to economic opportunities and vulnerability to social ills. The book examines, with new data sources and rigorous analytical methods presented in an accessible way, the three main related factors usually identified as key determinants of the region's poor housing outcomes: high housing prices relative to family income, lack of access to mortgage credit, and high land prices. The book also looks at the role of government policies and regulations as well as public housing programs, both at the local and federal level, in shaping housing outcomes in the region.