The article attempts to examine the main topics in the sociological study of housing from the end of the Second World War to the 1980s and distinguishes the following five: 1) housing systems and housing policy, 2) the relationship between social stratification and housing differentiation, 3) the relationship between the family and housing, 4) the relationship between housing and neighbourhoods, and 5) housing and architecture as components of culture. During this period the sociological study of housing was strongly influenced by the changes occurring in the housing situation. The post-war housing shortage in Europe and the state's heavy involvement in tackling this problem, along with the rapid rise in the importance of social housing, led to an emphasis on the study of housing systems, housing policy, the methodology of quantitatively measuring housing needs, and the role of the state in the housing sphere, with a heavy stress on the economic dimension of housing issues. A shift to qualitative research on housing, i.e. studying the relationship between the family and housing and the housing needs of the elderly and new families, occurred as the housing shortage declined. Culturally oriented housing research followed, as a response to the search for new identities and for genius loci. As housing has become commodified in Europe and social housing has almost disappeared over the past twenty-five years, there has been revival of the study of the social consequences of narrowly defined economic concepts of housing policy.