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HWPS No. 9 |Ronald, R. & Kadi, J. (2016) | The Revival of Private Landlords in Britain’s Post-homeownership Society

Homeownership has been declining in favour of private renting in most developed English speaking countries since the early-2000s. Public debates in countries like Britain, Australia and the US have subsequently focused on the ostensible coming of age of ‘generation rent’, constituted of younger individuals excluded from home-buying and traditional routes to housing asset accumulation.

While the focus of this paper is the significance of access to housing assets as a means to offset potential economic and welfare precarity, our concern is landlords rather than tenants. Drawing on British survey data we show that the rental boom has been accompanied by increasing multiple property ownership among classes of largely middle-aged and relatively affluent households. Over one-million small-time landlords have emerged in the last decade alone, who, we argue, are part product of historic developments in housing markets and welfare states. Generations of British have not only been orientated towards their homes as commodity assets, they have also begun to mobilize around multi-property accumulation in a context of shifting welfare and pension expectations.