The edges of home ownership

AuthorsGavin Wood, Susan J Smith, Rachel Ong ViforJ, Melek Cigdem
PublishedOctober 2013
PublisherAustralian Housing and Urban Research Institute Melbourne, Australia
Number of Pages118

The edges of ownership form a neglected zone between the majority tenure, sustainable owner occupation, and the minority experience, long-term renting. In tenure-divided societies like Australia, the UK and the USA—where there is a stark financial, social and cultural divide between owners and renters—it is surprising that so little attention has been paid to the zone of transition between them. To be sure, there is a great deal of interest in how to make home ownership more affordable and inclusive, and in how to ensure that, once owner occupation is attained, it is viable and sustainable. There has also, of late, been growing interest in how to protect those who slip out of the sector when times get tough. However, the research reported here was inspired by a further discovery: namely that the edges of ownership are in flux; they are characterised by a surprising degree of ‘churn’ among households who cycle in and out of ownership more than once. This Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) study is the first to look in detail at the diverse trajectories of those who occupy the edges of ownership, to analyse the predictors and effects of ‘churn’, and to consider the implications of these for the wellbeing of households and the functioning of the housing system.