When it comes to land use, housing is arguably the one type of land exploitation that people perceive as the most important. Housing and the housing markets are also key factors to understand and create functioning societies. Without a functioning housing market, the labor market will work less efficiently. When people cannot freely choose where to live, their lives are restricted. They are forced into sub-optimal jobs or forced the burden of high commuting costs.
Housing is inherently different from all other consumption. Long lifetimes, high costs of building new, and high transaction costs all imply, to varying degrees, hindrances to the optimal, or preferred, housing consumption of households.
Housing is also, nearly, always locally produces and always locally consumed. This alone eases national legislation of the housing markets. In stable democracies, it also opens the door to special interest groups, and creates a condition for these to grow strong.
Research on housing can therefore take legislation as its point of departure. Questions can range from outcomes of legislation, now and historically, to the underlying driving forces of legislation, and why and how households act and react to rules, legislations, and norms.