The Role of Intergenerational Wealth Transfers and Family Support in Shaping Housing Positions

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 6:45 PM
Room: 422
Distributed Paper
Rowan ARUNDEL , Centre for Urban Studies, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
In the past few decades, there has been a strong shift towards increasing home ownership rates across many developed countries and housing has taken on a more prominent role through trends towards a privatized asset-based welfare model where housing property is seen as a key investment and a central component of household economic security. Decreasing support for other housing tenures, high house prices, increased mortgage indebtedness, volatile markets, and unstable labour conditions have contributed to socio-economic inequalities between those able to gain purchase in the housing market and those who are not, as well as differences among those that ‘bought at the right time’ and those that face high risks on their housing investments. Generational divides have been noted between relatively ‘housing wealthy’ older cohorts and younger generations that face difficulty in accessing favourable housing positions. Within these contexts, it would appear that family support and intergenerational wealth transfers have become more important in enabling, especially younger, households at gaining better housing positions. Through an analysis of micro-data on households across several European countries, the research attempts to gain an understanding on what extent intergenerational transfers are important in securing favourable housing positions and how these dynamics are mediated by the specific welfare regime and housing system contexts.