Conceptualising cross-border housing markets through the incorporation of big datasets to housing studies
Housing, housing markets and the debate around a contemporary housing crisis are becoming commonplace topics in everyday news. Terms such as gentrification and regeneration have become part of the public discourse. The commodification or financialization of housing, migration processes and the role of global corporate landlords are all in part explanations of the increased pressure on local housing markets. As such, understanding housing market dynamics remains a key to ensure the wellbeing of European citizens, and more recently receives increased attention on the European level. More recently, border regions have received renewed attention as a third of Europe’s population lives in border-regions according to the European Commission’s Communication on “Boosting Growth and Cohesion in EU Border Region” (European Commission, 2017). As such, this project contributes to the European Commission’s agenda by providing evidence on cross-border housing market dynamics.
Housing markets are often analysed in comparison to their national averages and incomes. As a result, the specific dynamics of border regions and the implications for housing markets are often only analysed in an exemplary manner. The differences in house prices and cost of living incentivises people to move across the border and thus leads to a substantial commuting pattern across the border. The Geneva Metropolitan Region is one such example, where the relative importance of the city surpasses across the border leading to a spatial dynamic where citizens live on one side of the border and work on the other. The impact of large urban conglomerations on a neighbouring country’s housing markets is just one example of the specific dynamics in housing markets across border regions.
This contribution builds on the ESPON Cross-border markets project and investigates cross-border housing markets in more detail, starting with a a conceptualisation of cross-border housing markets. Given how these types of markets can be subject to significant border effects and have unique particularities due to cross-border flows, further exploration and definition of the concept provides context for the data collection components of the project. Building on six European case studies, and the substantial web scrapping of housing data, the project was able to identify different border dynamcis in European housing market. In this specific contribution, we showcase the project results highlighting the development of four new cross-border indicators within two case study regions, the Geneve Metropolitan Region and the French-Spanish Basque border.