Tenure transitions at the edges of ownership: Reinforcing or challenging the status quo?
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This is an accepted manuscript of an article published by Sage in Environment and Planning A on 6/9/2021 available online at https://doi.org/10.1177/0308518X211038946.
Ong ViforJ, Rachel, William A.V. Clark, Susan J. Smith, Gavin A. Wood, William Lisowski, N.T. Khuong Truong, and Melek Cigdem. “Tenure Transitions at the Edges of Ownership: Reinforcing or Challenging the Status Quo?” Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space. Copyright © 2021 (The Authors)
This paper provides an empirical overview of housing tenure transitions in Australia, the UK and the USA during a period of unprecedented economic instability in 2001–2017. Focusing on the neglected theme of episodic homeownership, we profile those who straddle the tenure divide by moving into and out of renting from time to time. Using panel data we model this ‘churn’ in three jurisdictions, showing that even the dislocation of a global financial crisis does not eclipse the independent impact of life events during rental spells. We find that whatever individuals bring from prior ownership, shocks occurring during a rental spell – unemployment, loss of a partner, additional dependent children – can be sufficient to prevent return. Churning is also health- and age-selective, adding ‘drop-out’ among the old to ‘lock-out’ for the young as a policy concern. Even those who successfully regain owner-occupation increase their credit and investment risks without necessarily improving their housing position. Overall ‘churners’ are a diverse constituency whose life chances are powerfully shaped by episodic ownership: what they share is time spent in an unacknowledged, under-instituted space between tenures where there is latent demand for innovative financial services and untapped potential for radical policy shifts.
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