From Asset to Patrimony: The Re-emergence of the Housing Question

Dorothee Bohle, Leonard Seabrooke

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The global financial crisis has ushered in a major housing crisis in many European countries. The paper seeks to shed light on why, despite massive housing crises, there are few policy efforts at tackling it. Probing into the policy paradigms that have informed housing policies, the paper demonstrates a shift towards housing as an asset before the crisis. Increasingly, housing policies have become interwoven with financial markets. This has led to a major policy mismatch after the crisis: while the return of the ‘housing question’ would have required renewed efforts at establishing housing as a social right, de facto policy makers sought to stabilise financial markets. The result is a paradoxical outcome, where neoliberal market-driven programmes are embedded in increased dependence on family wealth. The article demonstrates the shift from housing as asset to housing as patrimony in three different varieties of residential regimes, represented by Ireland, Denmark and Hungary.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWest European Politics
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)412-434
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online: 16. October 2019


  • Housing
  • Residential capitalism
  • Financialisation
  • Comparative political economy
  • Family
  • Property
  • Paradigms

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