Geography Publications

Title

Small Is Transient: Housebuilding Firms in Ontario, Canada 1978-98

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-2003

Journal

Housing Studies

Volume

18

Issue

3

First Page

369

Last Page

386

URL with Digital Object Identifier

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02673030304238

Abstract

The North American housebuilding industry has been neglected in urban and housing studies. Its firm size structure and instability have long been cause for concern, but have rarely been given more than anecdotal treatment. This paper examines the transience of housebuilders in Ontario from 1978 to 1998. Using a census of builders provided by the Ontario New Home Warranty Program, the industry's firm membership is found to be extremely transient. Most transience comes by way of new firm formation and permanent firm exits from the market, while a small cohort of builders withdraw from and re-enter the market on a regular basis. The business cycle speeds and slows these processes but flux is due primarily to the annual turnover of small builders. To reduce transience, policy makers must decide between slowing entry and perhaps raising industry concentration or allowing continued firm entry and probably transience.

Notes

Dr. Michael Buzzelli is currently a faculty member at The University of Western Ontario.