Housing Wealth in Retirement Strategies

Towards Understanding and New Hypotheses


Toussaint, J.

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What is the current role of housing wealth in household retirement strategies across the European Union member states, and could this role be extended? This question is often raised by researchers and policymakers as governments search for ways to cut pensions expenditure. Owner-occupation could potentially be part of a solution as the retired are often rich in terms of housing wealth. The existing theory shows that owning one's own home can be regarded as a form of pension: once the mortgage has been repaid, housing expenses are substantially lower and housing wealth can also be cashed in, either by selling or using equity release schemes. However, converting housing assets into cash is a much less common strategy than expected. This book contributes to existing knowledge by relating household strategies to broader national contexts. The countries included in the study are Belgium, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and United Kingdom, while the Netherlands is the subject of particular attention. The study suggests that owner-occupation is not the clear-cut solution that governments might have hoped for.

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