Living in Assets Without Limits: Towards New Principles for Policies on Housing

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    Abstract

    Piketty (2014 Piketty, T. 2014. Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University.10.4159/9780674369542[CrossRef], [Google Scholar]) wrote a thought provoking book on capital, how it evolved over the decades and the role of housing in it. Maclennan and Miao (2016 Maclennan, Duncan, and Julie Miao. 2017. “Capital, Housing and Inequality in the 21th Century.” Housing Theory and Society.[PubMed], [Google Scholar]) further elaborate on the work of Piketty and the role of housing, and on possible implications for housing policy. There is a whole range of literature demonstrating that housing more and more changed from a roof over the head into a key asset for households, and a key element in “asset based welfare” policies. The liberalization of financial markets improved access to home ownership and with that to the possibility to build housing equity. For many decades, in many countries encouraging home ownership was the key priority in housing policy and this priority was accompanied by the “dream of home ownership as an equaliser” in societies. However, the dream of the housing markets and home ownership as equalizer and a solution for welfare states is far from reality. Maclennan and Miao (2017 Maclennan, Duncan, and Julie Miao. 2017. “Capital, Housing and Inequality in the 21th Century.” Housing Theory and Society.[PubMed], [Google Scholar]) therefore, conclude that it is time for a new “political economy for housing policy”.<br clear="none"/><br clear="none"/>This contribution reflects on the paper “Capital, housing and inequality in the 21st century” of Maclennan and Miao, and with that explores new principles for policies on housing. It advocates more emphasis on the roof over the head part of housing in housing policy and for tax policies to deal with intergenerational social equality including housing equity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-5
    JournalHousing, Theory and Society
    DOIs
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Mar 2017

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