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Exploring the spatial structure of housing prices under economic expansion and stagnation: The role of socio-demographic factors in metropolitan Rome, Italy

Salvati, Luca, Ciommi, Maria Teresa, Serra, Pere, Chelli, Francesco M.
Land use policy 2019 v.81 pp. 143-152
demography, economic crises, land use, low-income neighborhoods, prices, rural areas, urbanization, Italy, Southern European region
Analysis of changes over time in the spatial structure of housing prices provides reliable information to infer latent patterns and processes of urban growth. Although the 2008 financial recession had a negative impact on building activity in Europe - and especially in southern Europe - the overall impact of the global crisis on the spatial structure of housing prices has been occasionally investigated at the local scale. The present study compares the spatial structure of transaction prices under economic expansion (2003–2009) and recession (2009–2015) in Rome (central Italy), evaluating the combined influence of demography, land-use and territorial factors. Transaction prices increased significantly during expansion and decreased less sharply during recession. The highest housing prices were recorded in downtown Rome. Convergence and divergence in the level of housing prices between urban and rural areas were observed respectively during economic expansion and recession. The empirical results of this study indicate that the 2008 financial crisis influenced considerably the spatial structure of housing prices in Rome, weakening the urban-rural divide and consolidating the gap between wealthy and poor neighbourhoods.