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Two hearts and a loan? Mortgages, employment insecurity and earnings among young couples in six European countries


  • Giulia M Dotti Sani

    (Collegio Carlo Alberto, Italy)

  • Claudia Acciai

    (Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy)


Homeownership is increasingly understood by policy makers and social scientists as a fundamental asset against poverty risks, especially in times of economic uncertainty. However, in several Western countries, homeownership among younger generations appears to be increasingly difficult to achieve, likely a result of growing employment instability and stringent criteria to access credit. This article uses multinomial logistic models and nationally representative EU-SILC data from six European countries to examine (a) to what extent precarious employment among young couples is linked to being a mortgage holder; (b) whether earned income can compensate for employment instability in being a mortgagee; (c) cross-national differences in the relationship between being a mortgage holder, earnings, and employment insecurity. Our results indicate that the higher the levels of employment insecurity, the lower the chances of being a mortgage holder in all countries. Moreover, we find that at a given level of employment insecurity, households with higher levels of earned income have higher chances of being mortgage holders than households with lower earned income. However, while earned income has a stronger effect in achieving a mortgage among couples who have secure employment in Italy, earnings are more important among couples with lower levels of employment security in France, the UK, Spain and Poland. These results suggest that the relationship between social inequalities and housing is partially mediated by the national context.

Suggested Citation

  • Giulia M Dotti Sani & Claudia Acciai, 2018. "Two hearts and a loan? Mortgages, employment insecurity and earnings among young couples in six European countries," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 55(11), pages 2451-2469, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:55:y:2018:i:11:p:2451-2469
    DOI: 10.1177/0042098017717211

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