Prof. H Martin Edge

 

 

 

Abstract

 

Craig, A and Edge, H.M. (2003)

 

‘Internet – Based Methodologies in Housing Research: An Iterative Study Using Quantitative, Financial Measures to Gauge Housing Choices’

 

in ENHR/IAPS Conference “Methodologies in Housing Research" Stockholm, Sweden 22-24 September 2003

 

 

The research reported on here was part of a large project looking at consumer and industry attitudes to various types of prefabrication and standardisation in UK housing. The methodology involved defining a number of broad conceptual effects on the nature of the dwelling which might be generated by increasing prefabrication and standardisation. These potential barriers to acceptance by the house buying public were targeted in separate studies, each of which formed part of the project.

The studies, which include some innovative techniques using computer modelling and web-based survey methods, each tackle a conceptually distinct aspect of the way in which prefabrication and standardisation is likely to affect the perception of housing in the forseeable future. The current paper reports on the results of our study of issues of value related to the introduction of various innovations in housing.

Aspects of prefabrication and standardisation which are not essentially to do with the physical form or appearance of the dwelling may be of concern to house buyers and property professionals. Many of these more abstract concerns relate to the price of housing and the dwelling as a financial product. For example, if an innovative new house is perceived to be different to ‘normal’ houses, however well it may perform physically, this may create uncertainty as to long term capital value and reselling potential. A house may be mortgageable when new, but will it be mortgageable in ten years time, if policies change? You may like your new house, but where is the evidence, in the absence of an established market, that other people will like it sufficiently to buy it? ‘Experts’ may pronounce it an excellent form of construction, but is that really as robust a guarantee as standing the test of time?

The way these issues are perceived by house buyers was investigated in a web based study which used some innovative techniques to garner information about preferences regarding a number of different financial products linked to house purchase. The study aimed to be creative in suggesting and testing ways of overcoming potential resistance, primarily by offering different hypothetical financial packages.

The study has made certain assumptions about the cost savings which can be made through prefabrication and standardisation. In making these assumptions we looked for the comparative willingness to pay for a range of fourteen different financial options. That is, we sought to be able to say, for example; ‘If you can achieve a 15% capital cost saving, this particular financial package will be an attractive way of selling innovative housing to this particular group of people’.