Home page / Browse / Special issues

Special issues

Back to Special Issue list


Special issue on Housing Asset-Based Welfare

Housing: Asset-Based Welfare or the ‘Engine of Inequality’?


28.6.2015 | Mark Stephens, Martin Lux, Petr Sunega | Volume: 2 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 22-31 | 10.13060/23362839.2015.2.1.173
Special issue on Housing Asset-Based Welfare

The Janus Face of Homeownership-Based Welfare

This paper reflects on the different faces of asset-based welfare from both a theoretical and an empirical perspective. It shows that asset-based welfare can be perceived as a lever for welfare state restructuring but also as an instrument for poverty eradication. In most countries, asset-based welfare policies focus on stimulating home-ownership. The general idea is that by becoming a homeowner, households build up equity that can be released for care and pension purposes in old age. However, there are signs that such policies increase inequality between homeowners (depending on the location of the dwelling and/or the period in which it was bought), but particularly so between homeowners and tenants. We therefore contend that home-ownership based welfare policies need a clear and fundamental specification of the role of the government: how to deal with housing market risks and how to prevent politically unacceptable levels of inequality and exclusion?

27.6.2015 | Marja Elsinga, Joris Hoekstra | Volume: 2 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 32-41 | 10.13060/23362839.2015.2.1.174
Special issue on Housing Asset-Based Welfare

Housing Wealth and Asset-Based Welfare as Risk

Housing wealth has been viewed as the main route to asset-based welfare. Accumulated wealth is supposed to provide more in the way of welfare services than just shelter, services such as a net pension and the financing of long-term care. This paper challenges this view and highlights the new risks attached to acquiring and managing housing wealth. Although assets may provide a nest egg in old age, earlier on in the life cycle they leave mortgagers disproportionately exposed to financial and housing market risks and amplify susceptibility to existing social risks such as unemployment or sickness. In contrast to social insurance schemes, assets individualise social risks and leave it to the individual to smooth housing consumption over their life. This lack of risk pooling constitutes a new and hidden social risk that should be considered in the discussion around homeownership.

26.6.2015 | Stephan Köppe | Volume: 2 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 42-51 | 10.13060/23362839.2015.2.1.175
Special issue on Housing Asset-Based Welfare

Homeownership-Based Welfare in Transition

Welfare-state restructuring featuring the use of equity held in owner-occupied housing assets to offset declining public welfare resources and diminishing pension reserves – a form of ‘homeownership-based welfare’ – has become increasingly prominent in many developed economies in recent decades. This paper, focusing on the UK, examines the shifting position of homeownership, arguing that while the private home has become a key component of welfare restructuring, both owner-occupation and housing equity have become more polarised in the last decade, especially across cohorts. A particular concern is whether passive homeownership-based welfare switching strategies have become more active, or even pro-active, strategies to housing property accumulation as a means to compensate for welfare state retrenchment and anticipated pension shortfalls leading up to and since the Global Financial Crisis. We identify the significance of the rapid advance of a ‘generation landlord’ in the recent development of ‘generation rent’.

25.6.2015 | Richard Ronald, Justin Kadi, Chris Lennartz | Volume: 2 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 52-64 | 10.13060/23362839.2015.2.1.176
Special issue on Housing Asset-Based Welfare

Homebuying: a Critical Perspective on Financial Costs and Gains

In Britain, the shift from the ideology of homeownership into one of homeownership-based welfare has been sustained by homebuyers being regarded as investors. Homeowners are expected to create a synergy between the owned house seen as a space of shelter, place of home and increasingly, an investment vehicle and an object of debt. Drawing on 80 interviews with owner-occupiers and national data on house prices and mortgages, we examine the way in which the meanings of home meanings are negotiated through the subjective calculation of the financial costs and gains of homebuying. We explore homebuyers’ debt amnesia, their miscalculation of gains and their disregard of inflation. However homebuyers’ financially unsophisticated understanding of the asset-home arises less from book-keeping complexities or difficulties in pricing the emotional domain of the home, but rather by them instinctively considering the alternative cost of a rented space of shelter. From this financial perspective and given affordability, homebuying illustrates a misleading ideological notion of choice.

24.6.2015 | Adriana Mihaela Soaita, Beverley Ann Searle | Volume: 2 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 65-73 | 10.13060/23362839.2015.2.1.177
Special issue on Housing Asset-Based Welfare

Housing Market and Family Relations in a Welfare State

One idea widespread in current discourse on the ageing population speaks of the ‘intergenerational inequity’ between the elderly and the young. This assumption overlooks the extensive lifetime financial transfers from older to younger generations that occur within families. Housing wealth may reinforce inequalities over generations, but this wealth also provides an opportunity to assist offspring in entering the housing market. The increase in house prices in recent years has put parents in an even better position to provide financial support. Instead of following the distributional principles that guides redistribution within the welfare state, this distribution may reproduce or even increase social inequalities. Intergenerational inequalities in economic prosperity may therefore also lead to intragenerational inequalities between those who have parents that can help and those who do not. However, this type of inequality may strengthen rather than weaken family solidarity.

23.6.2015 | Hans Christian Sandlie, Lars Gulbrandsen | Volume: 2 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 74-81 | 10.13060/23362839.2015.2.1.178
Special issue on Housing Asset-Based Welfare

The Role of Housing Assets in Shaping the New Welfare Regime in Transition Countries: The Case of Hungary

This paper looks at housing strategy in a wider social and economic context and argues that a household’s (class) position in society depends on important life decisions, one of the most important of which is a person’s employment strategy and preparation for the period of retirement (pensions), which is related to housing decisions. The main context of these decisions is the welfare regime, but also a country’s economic structure (varieties of capitalism) and housing system (tax and subsidy elements of programmes). However, as the paper argues, these systems are also changing in relation to the macro effect of individual decisions.

22.6.2015 | József Hegedüs, Hanna Szemző | Volume: 2 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 82-90 | 10.13060/23362839.2015.2.1.179