Where housing and pensions meet

Marja Elsinga, Deborah Quilgars, John Doling

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


Populations are ageing across the EU. Fewer people are having children and a smaller working population must bear the ever-increasing burden of pension and care costs. Many countries are reconsidering the welfare state and the recent financial crisis has eroded trust in the private sector. However, the percentage of home owners has risen in most countries in recent decades, so much so that some two-thirds of European households now have their own homes. The grand total of housing equity is astronomical, even exceeding the total European gross domestic product (GDP). But further growth in home ownership and the value of owner-occupied dwellings is under pressure.

The central question in this special edition is whether housing equity can and is
being used as a pension. To what extent can housing assets be realised in order to meet the consumption needs of the elderly? And to what extent are governments banking on their citizens utilising their housing wealth now and in the future? This editorial provides a brief overview of European developments in ageing, home ownership and pensions and introduces the DEMHOWproject (DEMographic change and HOusing Wealth), a framework 7 project for the European Commission. This themed issue focuses on the role of housing wealth in household strategies and presents the outcomes of in-depth interviews. After all, the question now is not if housing equity will play a role in pension strategies but rather how it will play a role.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Housing Policy
Issue number1
Early online date24 Feb 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • housing
  • ageing
  • older people
  • home ownership
  • pensions
  • housing equity

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