Housing Wealth and Asset-based Welfare as Risk
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Housing wealth has been viewed as the main route to asset-based welfare. Accumulated wealth is supposed to provide more in the way of welfare services than just shelter, services such as a net pension and the financing of long-term care. This paper challenges this view and highlights the new risks attached to acquiring and managing housing wealth. Although assets may provide a nest egg in old age, earlier on in the life cycle they leave mortgagers disproportionately exposed to financial and housing market risks and amplify susceptibility to existing social risks such as unemployment or sickness. In contrast to social insurance schemes, assets individualise social risks and leave it to the individual to smooth housing consumption over their life. This lack of risk pooling constitutes a new and hidden social risk that should be considered in the discussion around homeownership.
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