Britain’s new housing precariat: housing wealth pathways out of homeownership

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

June 3, 2016


Most Britons aspire to own their home outright before retirement. This article looks at the rocky road from the edges of ownership, where home buyers are trying to cope with pressing spending needs and mortgage repayments, towards outright ownership. Using the British Household Panel Study (BHPS), sequence analysis is applied to describe the housing wealth pathways of mortgagors as they strive to achieve outright ownership. The study pays particular attention to the risks that mortgagors are exposed to, and the tactics they employ as mortgage managers. A minority is trapped on the edges of ownership. Multinomial regression model estimates suggest that this new housing precariat is more likely to be female, younger, experience a relationship breakup, high mortgage–income ratios and have an additional child in the household. For this housing precariat, homeownership is not a safety net; it becomes a liability that exposes mortgagors to new social risks. These emerging social risks warrant policy intervention targeted on vulnerable home owner groups.

Published in

International Journal of Housing Policy

DOI 10.1080/14616718.2016.1185286





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