Skip to main content

Dr Chris Foye

Lecturer in Housing Economics

Foye c 288 268x268 3


  • Housing and subjective well-being, 
  • Social status and housing consumption, 
  • Housing and planning policymaking process


EM 164, Whiteknights Campus

Chris’s research interests are interdisciplinary cutting across economics, sociology and geography, and drawing on both qualitative and quantitative methods. He has published in Urban Studies, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Housing Studies and Housing, Theory and Society. He is particularly interested in the following topics;

  • Housing and subjective well-being

Chris’s PhD, also completed at Reading, involved quantitatively examining the relationship between housing and subjective well-being using large panel datasets from UK and Germany. He looked in particular at the effect of house size (here and here) and housing tenure (here). Currently, Chris is working on a paper exploring the effect of becoming a social tenant on well-being and employment.

  • Housing consumption and social status

Another aspect of Chris's PhD drew on behaviour economics to explore how the relationship between housing and subjective well-being was mediated by social status. For example, this paper showed how the positive relationship between home-ownership and subjective well-being depended on home-ownership being perceived as a social norm and positional good. Since his PhD, Chris has become interested in how Pierre Bourdieu’s work on cultural capital can be incorporated into models of housing consumption.

  • Housing and planning policymaking process

Before starting this position, Chris worked for four years at the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE). It was here that Chris became interested in the role of politics (and evidence) in the policymaking process. He is currently working on papers which explore: i) depoliticization of betterment value capture policy in England (forthcoming), ii) the role of think-tanks in framing the drivers of housing unaffordability in England, and iii) the role of polls on private rented sector policy during the pandemic. He is also interested in the ethical and normative dimension of housing policy evaluation (e.g. see here)

Chris would be open to supervising PhD’s on any of the above specialism topics.


PhD. Real Estate and Planning, University of Reading

MPhil. Planning, Growth and Regeneration, University of Cambridge

BSc. Real Estate and Planning, University of Reading (First Class)


Foye, C. (forthcoming). Section 106, viability and the depoliticization of English betterment value capture policy. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.

Foye, C. (online-first) Social Construction of House Size Expectations: Testing the positional good theory and aspiration spiral theory using UK and German panel data. Housing Studies

Foye, C. (2021) Ethically speaking, what is the most reasonable way of evaluating housing outcomes? Housing, Theory and Society.

White, J., Kenny, T., Samuel, F., Foye, C., James G., and Serin, B. "Delivering design value." (2020). UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence

Gibb, K., Foye, C., Stephens, M., Earley, A., (2020) Improving Opportunities: How to support social housing tenants into sustainable employment. Report to the APPG on Housing and Social Mobility. UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence

Foye, C. (2020) It’s about Process: Who Draws up the List of Capabilities and How? Housing, Theory and Society, 1-5. Housing, Theory and Society.

Clapham, D., Foye, C. (2019) How should we evaluate housing outcomes? UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence.

Clapham, D., Foye, C., Christian, J. (2018) The Concept of Subjective Well-being in Housing Research. Housing, Theory and Society

Foye, C., Clapham, D., & Gabrieli, T. (2018). Home-ownership as a social norm and positional good: Subjective wellbeing evidence from panel data. Urban Studies

Foye, C. (2017). The Relationship Between Size of Living Space and Subjective Well-Being. Journal of Happiness Studies

Grants and research projects

2021: Delivering Design Value: an animation, White, J., Foye, C. University of Glasgow Knowledge Exchange Fund and Scottish Government (£15,000)

2019: Why is housing so expensive? An animation, Foye C; University of Glasgow Knowledge Exchange Fund (£9,200)

2019: APPG Housing and Employment Inquiry: Social housing and employment”, Gibb K, Stephens M, Foye C (£18,200)

2018: Housing and What Works? From Placebo Policies to International Knowledge Exchange; Gurran N, Gibb K, Rogers D, Gilbert C, Zhang Y, Liu S, Foye C, Serin B, Soaita A, James G; Office of Global Engagement/Partnership Collaboration Awards (£44,000 approx.)

Taught modules in 2021-22

RE2REEI-Real Estate Economics and Investment

RE3HMP - Housing Markets and Policy

REMF53 - Housing Markets and Policy

REMB35-Residential Real Estate and Policy

News and media

Would a bigger house make you happier? - BBC News

BBC World Service “The Why Factor, How to live small? - see here