This thesis is about the housing pathways of young adults and the intra-family negotiations of support that pave the way to homeownership. It is about the experiences of young adults in predominantly urban settings in three very different societies: England, Romania and Japan. The thesis tackles issues of family duties and responsibilities, the meanings of gifts and loans, and the meanings of homeownership that underscore support. It describes everyday practices and relationships, but reflects on the implications of these practices for housing markets, welfare arrangements and individual identities.
The second half of the past century reflected, in many ways, a ‘golden age’ of homeownership across many economies. Strong labour conditions sustaining a broad middle-class alongside socio-political support promoted relatively widespread access to owner-occupation. Past decades of growth further entrenched an optimistic ‘ideology of mass homeownership’ as a widespread and democratic means of shelter and wealth accumulation. This research reveals, however, how contemporary housing careers are increasingly structured by growing diversification, complexity and inequality. The work exposes both the role of varied socio-cultural and institutional contexts in shaping housing career realignment as well as common trajectories in the face of global forces of labour, housing and state transformations. Rising labour market insecurity, housing financialisation, and reduced state support have not only exacerbated divides but have further only emphasised the importance of one’s position on the housing market. Such realignments in housing careers fundamentally undermine promises of mass homeownership and the democratic nature of housing wealth.
Both growth and unevenness in the distribution of housing wealth have become characteristic of advanced societies in recent decades. Housing Wealth and Welfare examines, in various contexts, how housing property ownership has become central both to household wellbeing and to the reshaping of social, economic and political relations.