Owner-occupation: at home with a hybrid of money and materials

17 Jan 2018, 3:06 p.m.
Susan J Smith Department of Geography, University of Durham,

Abstract. This paper is about the changing character of housing assets, owned homes, and perhaps owner-occupiers themselves. It draws from two studies of UK homebuyers, whose lives are entangled in the materiality of housing, the meaning of home, and the mobilisation of money. This me¨lange is facilitated by a new generation of financial services that render housing wealth interchangeable
with the cash economy, turning owned homes into a hybrid of money and materials. In total 150 qualitative narratives are interrogated to document three key trends. First, a shift of households' disposition, from opting for ownership by chance to banking on housing by design. Second, a change of financial orientation as property-holding citizens illapse into asset-accumulating investors. Third, an ethically charged encounter between the governance of housing and the micropolitics of home, which is prompted by the growing fungibility of housing wealth as it inspires new styles of, and imperatives for, consumption.

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