Partnership patterns and homeownership: a cross-country comparison of Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom

Thomas, M. J. & Mulder, C. H., 2016, In : Housing Studies. 31, 8, p. 935-963

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Using detailed micro-level survey data for three advanced European welfare-state economies (Germany, Netherlands and UK), our analyses suggest a fairly common hierarchy to homeownership, according to partnership status, exists. In all three countries, a variety of interrelated factors appear to encourage greater propensities for homeownership amongst co-residential households (married/cohabiting), as compared to single-person households. However, important macro-contextual differences do appear to play a significant role in mediating the magnitude of difference within this hierarchy. For instance, in Germany the importance of marriage as a predictor of homeownership is found to be particularly strong, with married couples having far higher propensities for homeownership, even when compared to non-married cohabiters. In the Netherlands and UK, where an emphasis on traditional family and marriage is less pronounced, and where homeownership is generally more popular and accessible, the differentiation between married/unmarried partners is greatly reduced. Furthermore, we find no evidence to suggest that living-apart-together partners are more/less likely to own their home than singles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)935-963
JournalHousing Studies
Issue number8
Early online date28-Apr-2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Homeownership, Partner Relationships, Welfare Regimes, Second Demograhpic Transition, Comparative Analysis, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom

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