New article: A methodology to analyze local housing wealth divergences in an aging shock context

Ref: Essafi Y., Simon A., Languillon R., 2020, A methodology to analyze local housing wealth divergences in an aging shock context: application to the case of France, European Planning Studies. URL :


Assuming a life cycle perspective and using the link between demography and house prices, this article written by Raphaël Languillon-Aussel (University of Geneva), Yasmine Essafi and Arnaud Simon (University of Paris-Dauphine) proposes a new approach to analyze the spatial reshaping of housing wealth caused by the elder boom. The modification in housing wealth circulation across generations is also a spatial modification that carries consequences for local territories. Applied to the French case at the departmental level, this methodology is also relevant for European countries confronted to an aging shock. We find that although the losses are amplified for some departments, others benefit from this aging shock. Metropolization is insurance against important housing wealth losses, whereas for the nonmetropolitan departments, a combination of second-order factors is required to avoid wealth decline. Our results suggest that these evolutions are mainly structural and that the cyclical variables are of secondary importance. Compensation, by positive cyclical trend, for structural decline is not a circumstance that currently occurs in the French case. Social classes also appear to be strongly related to this change, in which various spatial inequalities are reinforced. As for the unemployment rate, this indicator poorly reflects the shift and may be misleading for a regional planning policy.

Key-words: Aging, housing wealth reshaping, metropolization, shrinking

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