Single-Family Homes under Pressure?

n many countries, single-family homes (SFH) constitute the majority of residential buildings. In Germany 66 % of the residential building stock is made up by SFH. SFH are traditionally in great demand, and in 2011, more than 50 % of the population in Europe lived in SFH. "Detached houses" constitute about 60 % of the housing units in Japan as well as in the USA. For some time already, increasing indications can be found, that this segment of the housing stock is under pressure. Economic and financial crises, demographic and social structural change, and changes in user preferences, are raising new challenges to it. Outside core regions of economic growth, stagnating or dropping prices, difficulties in selling, and even vacancies, are no longer a rarity in this segment in many regions. Nonetheless, these developments, and the possible consequences connected with them, have hardly been investigated from a number of relevant perspectives, including economics (e. g. loss of equity/capital and resulting costs for municipalities), ecology (e. g. inefficiencies in terms of energy, land and material use), settlement-structure (e. g. the sustainability of residential service facilities or the attractiveness of the residential environment) or the social situation (e. g. down-trading of neighbourhoods, or loss of relevance for retirement provision). While multifamily residential buildings enjoy a high level of attention from residential policy-makers and the housing industry, the developments in the area of the SFH segment, with its smallscale private ownership structures – approximately 90 % of these buildings are user-owned – is neither on the academic nor on the political agenda.

Against this background the overarching research questions of the project are as follows: What are the effects of ongoing demographic, sociocultural and structural changes on the utilization of SFH building stocks in Germany and other industrialized countries? Which resulting economic, ecological, urban-structural and social challenges can be identified and how can they be approached and solved by society and policy alike?

A total of three key objectives are to be pursued:

  • a description of trends and changes in the development of traditional and novel SFH user groups and their housing preferences on the one hand and the characteristics of current SFH building stocks on the other hand,
  • an understanding of the effects of these changes for the matching of supply and demand, as well as for prices and vacancies, and the implications for the use of natural resources and resulting development challenges and
  • the identification of possible development scenarios and approaches to action.

The project seeks to scrutinize these issues out of an interdisciplinary perspective. To this end, the project team gathers expertise in the fields of economic, environmental, socio-ecological and spatial science. The investigations on the situation in Germany will be supplemented by comparative studies inside Europe, as well as on the situation in Japan and the United States. The international perspective is underpinned by several international cooperating partners and an international advisory board. International workshops and conferences will furthermore help to establish a network to reach beyond the immediate project team.

Project results are available on the project homepage at results.

Important events in 2017

16.-17. November 2017
Single Family Homes under Pressure? – Final Scientific Conference (Homes-uP project)

Venue: IOER, Weberplatz 1, 01217 Dresden, Germany
Further project information

29. November 2017
Homes-uP Transfer conference
"Die Zukunftsfähigkeit der Einfamilienhausbestände - Problemlagen, Handlungsansätze, Szenarien 2050"

Venue: Haus am Dom (Bildungs- und Kulturzentrum) Domplatz 3, 60311 Frankfurt am Main
Further informationen

The Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development is jointly funded by the federal government and the federal states.

FS Sachsen

This measure is co-financed by tax funds on the basis of the budget approved by the Saxon State Parliament.