Why Germany has rental housing and US own housing? Institutional perspective..

A very interesting paper by Sebastian Kohl (HT: Economic Sociology blog).

There is always interest in this question: Why Germany has rental housing and US own housing? Kohl says this is due to differences in evolution of housing finance institutions in the 2 countries in 19th century:

Comparative welfare and production regime literature has so far neglected the considerable cross-country differences in the sphere of housing. The United States became a country of homeowners living in cities of single-family houses in the twentieth century. Its housing policy was focused on supporting private mortgage indebtedness with only residual public housing. Germany, on the contrary, remained a tenant-dominated country with cities of multi-unit buildings. Its housing policy has been focused on construction subsidies to non-profit housing associations and incentives for savings earmarked for financing housing.

The article claims that these differences are the outcome of different housing institutions that had already emerged in the nineteenth century. Germany developed non-profit housing associations and financed housing through mortgage banks, both privileging the construction of rental apartments. In the United States, savings and loan associations favored mortgages for owner-occupied, single-family house construction. When governments intervened during housing crises in the 1920/1930s, they aimed their subsidies at these existing institutions. Thus, US housing policy became finance-biased in favor of savings and loan associations, while Germany supported the housing cooperatives.

Usually the story in such cases is historic institutional setting..Same is the case here..

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