Housing as Asset Based Welfare: A Comment

This paper aims to provide a contribution to the debate about housing as asset based welfare begun in this journal in 2015. It suggests that there are strong reasons associated with life cycle earnings and consumption why owner-occupation can be a desirable option, especially for older households. However owner-occupation can be a high risk option for less well-off households while increasing both inequality across income groups and particularly through its impact on inter-generational income and wealth. Even so, housing inequalities, despite all the market failures associated with its provision and allocation, are more an outcome of broader economic fundamentals. Moreover housing policies can improve the lived experience for many. Policies should aim to provide a tenure neutral-taxation environment but also to reduce credit and other constraints to entering owner-occupation. At the same time there must be support for those with inadequate income to achieve acceptable housing standards.


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Whitehead, C. 2016. ‘Housing as Asset Based Welfare: A Comment.’ Critical Housing Analysis 3 (1): 10-18. https://doi.org/10.13060/23362839.2016.3.1.249