Transformations in Japanese housing and urban conditions in the last half century have been remarkable, reflecting significant shifts in the economy and population. The transition has been from an era of extreme of high-speed urban and industrial growth, to the creation and bursting of an economic bubble, to an new era characterized by a sluggish economy, slow growth, social ageing and demographic decline.
In the late twentieth century, homeownership became entrenched in a wider societal project associated with transformations in the economy and increased social inclusion. The ‘promise of homeownership’ asserted the potential of mortgaged owner-occupation in providing all with not just a stable home, but also the chance to accumulate assets and establish economic security.
Past decades of economic growth, relatively widespread employment security and expanding mortgage markets promoted growing homeownership sectors. Recent years have witnessed the foundations of this growth undercut across advanced economies, evidenced by a rise in other tenures and increasing housing precarity.
This paper analyses practices of intergenerational support for homeownership among different generations of families in Milan, Italy. It makes use of an original dataset of qualitative interviews investigating homeownership pathways and the negotiations of support that they pre-suppose for Italian young adults.
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.
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.
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.
Returns to the parental home represent a dramatic housing career interruption that can have significant social and economic implications. Interaction of individual characteristics with turning point shocks, such as unemployment or partnership dissolution, are key triggering events, however, housing disruptions are further embedded within variegated social, cultural and institutional contexts. Fundamental is the nature of the welfare regime, explaining norms surrounding co-residence as well as the amount and type of resources available.
Transitions to adulthood not only represent a key period for individual development but also contribute to processes of social stratification. Growing evidence has pointed to increased complexity, postponement and individualization in transition dynamics. Previous research has focused on trends in school-to-work transitions and family formation; however, the central role of housing represents an interrelated process that is less understood.
Structural economic and family-demographic shifts, as well as socio-economic integration processes at the EU level have led to profound transformations of the established social policy models in Europe in the past two decades. Notwithstanding the considerable variations across nations and regime types, two salient developments could be observed here. In the first place, many governments have implemented a strategy of proactive ‘social investment’ [SIS], either alongside or in replacement of their established social security programmes.
In the past few decades, advanced economies have seen a strong shift towards increasing homeownership with housing taking on a more prominent role through trends towards a privatized asset-based welfare model where housing property is seen as a central component of household economic security. Decreasing support for other housing tenures, continued high house prices, increased mortgage indebtedness, volatile markets, and unstable labour conditions have contributed to socio-economic inequalities between those able to gain purchase in the housing market and those who are not.
The purpose of this project is to examine housing practices in order to understand how families use housing to meet welfare needs. The premise of the study is that in the context of retrenching welfare states where increasing responsibilities for welfare provision fall on households and families, housing becomes an integral part of strategies for accessing formal and informal welfare provision.
Until quite recently, housing markets and family property were only of marginal significance to most social scientists. However, following volatile increases in real estate values and the rapid expansion of home ownership globally, the impact of housing markets and the orientation of individuals, households and governments around them has reshaped our world.
The Netherlands had been considered a key example of a ‘unitary’ rental market in which social and private rental sectors are in direct competition with each other. This unitary market has been more recently undermined however, by changes in the status of housing associations, the privatization of social housing stock and the promotion of home ownership.
The post socialist restructuring of Romania was marked by an abrupt retrenchment of the state and, subsequently, the resurgence of familial interdependencies. A particular arena where this has played out has been the housing system. State rental housing privatization in the 1990s led to mass homeownership, but for young adults seeking autonomous living since then, entering the homeownership market has become increasingly dependent on family resources.
Numbers of one-person households in East Asia have expanded dramatically in recent decades, especially among younger cohorts living in cities. This shift derives from specific changes in economic conditions and neoliberal policy influences that have interacted with family and marriage norms as well as housing market conditions.
In context of poorly performing national economies and sustained employment insecurity since the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008, various UK and US studies have suggested that access for younger people to independent living, and to owner-occupied housing in particular, has been in decline.
While patterns of housing policy, production and occupation are quite diverse, housing interventions in developed East Asian economies have historically focused on high volume housing output targeted at economically productive, male-headed family households.