Deadline for proposals: Noon, on Monday, 4 November 2013
Internationally, the significance of the housing construction and residential property sectors in the economy is well understood and accepted. In the United States, economists cite new housing construction or “housing starts” as a leading economic indicator. This is because housing construction necessarily involves a series of other sectors: building materials, construction, finance, professional services, and so on, as the different links in the housing value chain come together to deliver housing. Housing construction also leads the economy after completion. A house newly built is sold to a buyer, usually with a combination of savings and credit. The buyer may move in, or rent the property out to a tenant. Once the resident moves in, he or she buys new furniture and appliances. Over time, the property owner is likely to invest in home improvements, also often financed. These backward and forward linkages are all tied to housing activity in the economy and should be quantified. In a recent, unpublished paper, UN Habitat estimates that in Mozambique, households invest an average of $15 000 in their housing, informally (with a combination of savings and credit) over their lifetime.