Determining heterogeneity of residential location preferences of households in Belgium

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Residential location choice behaviour is a key component of the complex and dynamic human-environment interactions driving changes in the urban landscape. The residential location choices that households make depend on their socio-economic characteristics, attitudes and life cycle stage as well as the location's properties. The objective of this research was to analyse residential location preferences for different types of households in Belgium by developing a residential location choice model based on the use of regression trees. For each preference group, a discrete choice model was estimated identifying the main factors influencing residential location choices, and how these differ depending on household characteristics. The data-driven approach proposed in this paper enables a transparent interpretation of the main household characteristics explaining differences in residential location choice behaviour, and of the varying effect of location characteristics on residential location choice. Results obtained with the model show that tenure status, education level, nationality and household type successfully discriminate heterogeneous residential location preference profiles in Belgium. Model variables for each preference group demonstrate that not only socio-economic characteristics of the resident population, but also housing price and job accessibility differentially affect a location's attractivity for different household profiles.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102271
JournalApplied Geography
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • residential location choice
  • households
  • discrete choice modeling
  • household behaviour
  • household segmentation
  • regression trees
  • Belgium


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