Homeownership rates have increased in the Netherlands since the 1980s. An extensive mortgage interest tax deduction scheme and a reregulation of the mortgage- and credit market indulged low- and middle-class households to move into this tenure. Cross-country comparisons have shown that
housing policies influence which social groups reside in homeownership. Surprisingly, it is never researched whether this enables different social classes to accumulate housing wealth. This becomes ever more relevant, since wealth inequality has become one of the central challenges of our
time. After all, housing wealth is the largest source of wealth for most households. This article focuses on housing wealth inequality between social classes in the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden. On the basis of the first and the fifth wave of the SHARE (Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement
in Europe) (2004/2013), it is investigated which dimensions play a role in the realization of housing wealth inequality among households (aged 50+) in three countries with a different housing regime and a different price development on the housing market. The results suggest that an expansion
of homeownership can result in a relatively equal housing wealth distribution when the construction of owned homes is stimulated in a non-financialized way. A financialized expansion of homeownership leaves more room for housing wealth inequalities between social classes to arise.
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Document Type: Research Article
October 1, 2015
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