1st Edition

The Business of Affordable Housing Case Studies of the Commercial Supply of Affordable Homes

By Alexander Styhre Copyright 2024

    Despite the conventional wisdom that affordable housing, either in the form of homeownership or through access to rental units, has beneficial effects for households, society, and the economy more broadly, there is a noteworthy lack of empirical studies of housing development and construction companies or building societies that actively work to supply this asset class in the economy. There are several reasons for this condition, including the “thin market” for such business activities. This book offers a case study that includes two Swedish housing development companies that have targeted a market niche for affordable homes that few other companies and market actors are concerned with.

    One company is part of a major construction company conglomerate which produces prefabricated housing modules to better serve the low-end niche of the housing market. The other company is a municipality-owned housing development company that acts on the basis of market practices and rules but that also on policymakers’ stated ambition to provide affordable homes for the residents in the municipality, the largest municipality in a major Swedish metropolitan area. Taken together, the study of these two companies provides first-hand insights into how the production of affordable homes takes place in a real-world economy.

    The book is of relevance for a variety of readers, including graduate students, management scholars, policymakers, and management consultants.

    Part I: The institutionally embedded production of affordable housing 1. The housing question: political deliberations and policymaking in financialized housing markets 2. The welfare consequences of housing policy Part II: To supply commercially affordable housing: how to align policies and practices 3. The methodology of the study 4. To acquire buildable land: collaborating with municipality agencies and their officials 5. The mundanity of cost cutting: the value of small wins in affordable housing production 6. Affordable housing and the aesthetic imperative: who gets to decide what to be built? 7. Meaning and social contributions in affordable housing production: the perceived value of work that matters 8. To supply affordable homes: theoretical contributions and policy implications


    Alexander Styhre is chair of management and organization, Department of Business Administration, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.