Understanding Housing Markets URBAN5092

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Markets are fundamental to modern British society and to the housing system. In this course we set out to understand just what markets are, how they work, how they relate to the individual and to the State, and to appreciate alternate critical perspectives. This lens is then applied to the impact of markets on the housing sector - the mortgage, new build, owner-occupied and rental markets, the uses of market signals and competition in social housing and the state's intervention in housing markets.


This course is usually taught in Semester 1 of Year 1 for Part-time housing students. It is delivered over 6 weeks in 3 hourly blocks.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements:


Excluded Courses






One 2,500 word essay on a housing market related issue.

Course Aims

This course will enable students to locate social housing within the contemporary market-based system of the modern economy. It will demonstrate the important interdependencies that exist across housing tenures, land, construction and lending markets and identify the important role of the state regulating, creating and maintaining markets, as well its role intervening in markets. The course will provide students with a rich and nuanced understanding of contemporary markets, drawing on a range of disciplinary sources, not just neo-classical economics but the study of property rights and institutions the economic sociology of markets and the recent critique of the neo-liberal model following from the global financial crisis. The students will also learn to critically assess the concept of market failure and intervention in the housing system and the role of policies that enable markets and promote market signals in non-market settings.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ characterise the traditional economic logic underlying the operation of modern markets in theory and in practice;

■ develop a wider sense of how markets operate and are constructed drawing on a range of perspectives: property rights theory, institutional analysis, economic sociology and performativity;

■ critically analyse the neo-liberal policies of markets in the context of the global financial crisis and critically evaluate the merits of these arguments;

■ assess the performance and specific nature of the owner-occupied housing market, the mortgage market, house building market and the rental market;

■ appreciate and assess the impact of the market sector broadly on the evolving non-market housing sector;

■ critically review the meaning and implications of market failure and consequent interventions by the state with a specific focus on the housing sector;

■ describe the main policies aimed at introducing market signals and competition into non-market housing and critically assess their relative merits;

■ contrast the conceptual debates on markets with the practical knowledge developed in need and demand assessments and related housing planning evidence bases;

■ apply skills in processing information, verbal communication within a group setting, and written communication; and

■ develop diagrammatic analytical skills and interpret quantitative data provided in tabular form.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.


Minimum requirement for award of credit for students on MSc City Planning and MSc in Real Estate is D3 or above.


Students on other qualifications then University standard regulations apply although attendance is a requirement for students on PG Dip/MSc Housing Studies