Japan’s post-war homeownership project was built on a rigid family model – favouring nuclear male-breadwinner families – and a hierarchy of housing forms, with owner-occupied single-family detached houses at the top. The destabilization of the system following the bubble economy of the 1980s, however, has resulted in a diversification of household forms and housing pathways.
Among young people, opportunities for pursuing homeownership have narrowed. Building on narratives of younger adults in Tokyo’s housing markets, this article examines, the socio-material conditions of contemporary homeownership pathways. It argues that young people are both adapting to the conditions of a practically failing but politically and ideologically resilient homeownership system and challenging its boundaries.