Intergenerational Transfers and Solidarity in the Wake of a House-Price Boom: The Case of Norway

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 6:30 PM
Room: 422
Oral Presentation
Lars GULBRANDSEN , Norwgian social research, Norway
Hans Christian SANDLIE , Norwegian social research, Norway
Housing is an important source of households’ wealth. Tenure is becoming an important marker of social difference and point of distinction between ‘good’ and ‘poor’ housing. In Norway most households has become home owners early rather early in life. However, the house-price boom in the last two decades has changed the conditions and opportunities different cohorts has met to access homeownership and climb the ‘housing ladder’. While young households meet a housing market where access to homeownership is steady more troublesome, the increased housing prices amount to substantial housing wealth for older households and a capacity to support their own children’s acquisition of a home.

An important question in the paper is how middle aged and elderly Norwegian dispose their growing housing wealth. Do they spend their wealth, do they continue to save or do they help younger family members? Another question is whether new generations of elderly behave in other ways than generations before them. Our main question is whether an explanation based on different attitudes in different generations or an explanation based on life course changes fit our data on how middle aged and elderly people plan to dispose their housing wealth.

The enormous increase of housing wealth is a newer phenomenon than the Scandinavian Welfare State where good housing originally was one of the pillars but not the vehicle of capital collection as we see today. We will ask how this development in the housing sector and in the system of family wealth affects other aspect of the Scandinavian Model as for instance pensions and policies towards income and wealth distribution. We will also make a short comparison with Sweden, another representative of The Scandinavian Model, with a system of housing tenure where the rate of individual home ownership is much lower than in Norway.