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A Blueprint for Addressing the Global Affordable Housing Challenge

By McKinsey Global Institute

Providing decent housing for citizens is a perennial challenge for nations around the world. From slum residents in the developing world to middle-income households in expensive global capitals, hundreds of millions of people struggle to find decent housing that they can afford without severe financial stress. The economic and human toll of the housing affordability gap is enormous. We estimate that 330 million households are affected around the world and, under current trends, by 2025 the number of households that occupy unsafe and inadequate housing or are financially stretched by housing costs could reach 440 million—or 1.6 billion people.

In this research we identify ways to narrow the affordable housing gap in the next decade. This will require clear aspirations by policy makers to improve housing affordability and the use of four levers that we identify to unlock land in appropriate locations, reduce construction and operations costs, and improve access to low-cost financing. Together with an integrated and city-specific delivery approach, these measures can put housing within reach of households making 50 to 80 percent of their city’s median income. The levers also can make housing more affordable and improve housing outcomes for households earning less than 50 percent of median income…

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