Housing subsidies and property prices: evidence from England

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Regional Science and Urban Economics


Nils Braakmann and Stephen McDonald

Publication date


This paper analyses the effect of major cuts to housing subsidies on property prices in England. Governments commonly give rental subsidies to poor households, but it is not known whether or to what extent this distorts underlying property prices. Using a difference-in-differences-type estimator to exploit variation in scale of the cuts across local areas, we find that the cuts lowered house prices from the time of the policy announcement. The impact was seen predominantly for types of property typically rented by recipients of subsidies and in areas where demand for housing is low relative to supply. Analysis of survey data of individuals finds that benefit recipients were more likely to move home after the cuts relative to other renters. Overall, the results suggest that rental subsidies, while helping recipients to afford otherwise too expensive properties, could contribute to affordability problems for buyers.






Area Effects, Geography, Economics, Public Policy, Welfare Benefits and Housing Market



Online Early