The idea that households should be encouraged to invest in assets that accrue over the lifetime to be drawn upon when needed (usually later in life), or assed-based-welfare, became increasingly evident in early-2000s policy discourse. The global housing boom, meanwhile, made home ownership and housing assets a specific focus of reforms. However, the housing base of asset-based welfare has been transfigured in the last decade.
In this paper we address how the home has retained its centrality as an asset base of individual welfare, yet under distorted conditions of access and distribution due to shifting socioeconomic and housing market environments. Rather than evening out the spread of welfare resources, housing markets have begun to polarize household conditions. We specifically focus on the British case, which appears to have manifested a rather extreme case of intergenerational housing wealth polarization, expanding the private rental sector and landlord numbers whilst undermining the homeownership base.
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