WS2 — Housing wealth and household welfare

ws2_jars_500Inter-generational justice will become an increasingly important issue in respect of the future redistribution of housing wealth in an ageing society; the assumption that the current distribution of housing wealth will be reproduced across generations may not materialise for some time. This research stream explores the beliefs and behaviours of home owners and the extent to which housing wealth acts as a real and symbolic financial buffer in the face of economic turmoil and changing life circumstances. It explores the motivations for dipping into housing wealth and draws out: the tensions between investing in housing vs savings or pensions; using equity across the life course vs saving equity for older age; protecting the welfare of the current generation vs providing for the next.

The stream also explores the potential for mortgage debt to be extended into retirement and potentially passed on to the next generation as the uses of housing wealth extend across the life course, paying particular attention to the links between housing and social policy, and to the opportunities and limitations for positioning housing wealth as an asset-base for welfare for different cohorts.


Soaita, A.M., Searle, B.A., McKee, K., Moore, T. (2016). Becoming a landlord: strategies of property-based welfare in the private rental sector in Great Britain. Housing Studies. Early View DOI:10.1080/02673037.2016.1228855.

Soaita, A.M., Searle, B.A. (2016). Debt amnesia: Homeowners’ discourses on the financial costs and gains of homebuying. Environment and Planning A, 48(6), 1087-1106. DOI:10.1177/0308518X16638095.

Soaita, A.M., Searle, B.A. (2015) Homebuying:  a Critical Perspective on Financial Costs and Gains. Critical Housing Analysis, 2(1), 65-73.

Searle, B.A., McCollum, D. (2014) Property based welfare and the search for generational equality. International Journal of Housing Policy, 14(4), 325-343. DOI:10.1080/14616718.2014.955334.


Soaita, A.M., Searle, B.A. (2015) My Generation? The Use and Abuse of Generational Labelling. Criticalurbanists 22/10/2015.

Searle, B.A. (2014) A changing market for providers, Housing LIN, Viewpoint 56, Abstract.

Searle, B.A. (2013) Help to Wealth-fare? Discover Society, 03/12/2013.

Searle, B.A. (2012)  Housing wealth:  will the next generation pay the price?, Editorial, ENHR Newsletter, March.

Presentations and Events

‘Homeonwership based welfare:  Pathways to Family Wellbeing’  – Adriana Soaita, Research Fellow, Centre for Housing Research, University of St Andrews, Wednesday, 19 November 2014, 12-1 pm

Venue: CHR Boardroom, Buchanan Gardens, St. Andrews


Society Research Group Seminar Series

Beverley Searle “Housing Wealth and Family Welfare – An Introduction”
Stephan Köppe “Acquiring, Managing and Using Housing Assets: Longitudinal Evidence from Britain”
Adriana Soaita “Homeownership-based welfare: Pathways to family wellbeing”

Wednesday, 26 November 2014, 1-2 pm

Venue: Room G6, Tower Building, University of Dundee


At XVIII ISA World Congress of Sociology held in Yokohama, 13-19 July, 2014 Adriana Soaita presented a paper co-authored with Beverley Searle entitled ‘Homeownership-based welfare? Empirical perspectives from the UK’. You can access the presentation here.

At ENHR International Conference held in Edinburgh, 1-4 July 2014, Adriana Soaita presented a paper co-authored with Beverley Searle  entitled ‘Homeownership-based welfare? Pathways to family wellbeing’. You can access the presentation here.


WS Members:

Dr Beverley Searle (Principal Investigator)
Dr Adriana Soaita (Research Fellow)

Former Member

Dr David McCollum (Lecturer Human Geography)


WS Institutions:

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