Informal Real Estate Markets: Exploring The Controversies In The Literature | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
January 2023
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Copyright (c) 2023 African Journal on Land Policy and Geospatial Sciences

Are “informal real estate markets” really markets? Alternatively, are “informal property rights” tradable? A few years ago, just the mention of these concepts in a title would render it a misnomer. The aim of this paper is to explore the controversies in literature around the use of the concept “informal real estate markets”. The term “informal” comes with different connotations in literature; and for many years it denoted “illegality”. Thus, the use of “informal” as a prefix on real estate markets would be absurd or a misnomer in neo-classical economics whose definition of market transactions relied on fully titled private property rights. By implication, an informal real estate market trades in informal property rights. This paper shows that the use of the concept “informal real estate market” and by extension “informal property rights”, is now finding acceptance in scholarly literature. One of the underpinning reasons is the “new” understanding of “rules” as institutions and the re-definition of “markets” within institutional economics. This has resulted in the redefinition of key concepts in support of the operation and study of informal real estate markets. The paper is based largely on in-depth literature review, observations and original thought. The paper argues that the functioning of informal real estate markets is consistent with the theory on institutions.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Ephraim Kabunda Munshifwa, Niraj Jain, Anthony Mushinge, Roy Alexander Chileshe, Gillie Cheelo, Idah Ethel Zulu

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