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MIT and La Haus announce joint research agreement for LatAm housing gap

Today, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced partnering with LatAm proptech La Haus to develop joint research that analyzes the challenges and possible solutions to housing issues in Mexico and Colombia, according to a press release.

The research agreement is important due to a current lack of reliable data and information about the Latin America (LatAm) housing market, where about 100 million people live in informal housing.

Despite most of these LatAm countries not storing housing data, La Haus has been collecting data on thousands of real estate transactions across 11 cities in Mexico and Colombia over the past four years.

This provides MIT with a large, previously unavailable data source to analyze, with hopes that it will illuminate housing quality issues in LatAm’s massive urban environments.

The research will be led by Dr. Albert Saiz, associate professor of Urban Economics and Real Estate at MIT, who was director of the MIT Center for Real Estate from 2014 to 2018. Saiz currently serves as the director of the school’s Urban Economics Lab, which uses analytical models and big data to understand what makes cities thrive or decline, how housing values are formed and change, and how local politics and social factors form the context for increasing global urbanization.

“For a century, the lack of reliable data about the housing market in Latin America has resulted in policy created by guesswork. Thanks to technology, that is starting to change. La Haus has collected a treasure trove of data that will lead to the kind of research we haven’t been able to do until now,” Saiz stated in the release.

The research is also expected to provide an informational foundation for governments and public servants to make informed decisions about zoning, regulation and urban planning, according to the release.

“This will not only be academic work; we want it to be a step toward public policy that could improve the access to high-quality housing for the large population of Latin Americans who struggle to access proper housing,” Saiz said.

Founded in 2017, La Haus says that the research is another step towards democratizing access to quality housing for Mexicans and Colombians in LatAm.

“The path toward transformation needs several players who understand the ecosystem, and we are honored to play a part in MIT’s research, and thrilled to contribute to solutions to the many challenges of the housing and real estate industry,” said Rodrigo Sánchez Ríos, cofounder and president of La Haus.

In other recent proptech news, Acorn Finance and Joist partnered to embed home improvement finance offers into the mobile platform. Fifth Wall also halted its latest SPAC amid stock market uncertainty and volatility.

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