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Project III - Security & Inequality

R. Arundel / C. Lennartz



The triad of secure employment, state benefits and home ownership has been considered a mutually reinforcing framework of household economic security in many societies. Recent socioeconomic changes have transformed this relationship as governments have increasingly emphasized the home ownership element at the expense of the other two. Project three addresses how recent housing market transformations have restructured not only frameworks of social security but also social inequalities. With a greater emphasis on home buying and building property equity as an alternative to other safety nets, housing situations have become an important determinant of social inequality in some contexts and a key modifier in others. Despite the widening distribution of home ownership, housing wealth has become increasingly polarized. One significant development has been generational rifts in housing market positions. Older homeowners typically bought homes when prices were low and enjoyed growing equity during boom periods, while younger cohorts have increasingly been shut out of the market. Emphasis on home ownership as financial security has promoted a re-familization of society with parents increasingly required to help adult children in the housing market. Recent welfare regime shifts and socioeconomic and market restructuring imply a necessary reconsideration of economic inequalities derived from, or related to housing markets. Project three is thus concerned with the analysis of how housing market positions influence household economic security. Through the analysis of micro household data the research will address how economic and welfare conditions are influenced by family housing property situations in different regime contexts.