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Post-Socialist Housing Systems in Europe: Housing Welfare Regimes by Default?


  • Mark Stephens
  • Martin Lux
  • Petr Sunega


This article develops a conceptual framework derived from welfare regime and concomitant literatures to interpret housing reform in post-socialist European countries. In it, settled power structures and collective ideologies are necessary prerequisites for the creation of distinctive housing welfare regimes with clear roles for the state, market and households. Although the defining feature of post-socialist housing has been mass-privatisation to create super-homeownership societies, the emphatic retreat of the state that this represents has not been replaced by the creation of the institutions or cultures required to create fully financialised housing markets. There is, instead, a form of state legacy welfare in the form of debt-free home-ownership, which creates a gap in housing welfare that has been partially filled by households in the form of intergenerational assistance (familialism) and self-build housing. Both of these mark continuities with the previous regime. The latter is especially common in south-east Europe where its frequent illegality represents a form of anti-state housing. The lack of settled ideologies and power structures suggests that these housing welfare regimes by default will persist as part of a process that resembles a path-dependent ‘transformation’ rather than ‘transition’.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Stephens & Martin Lux & Petr Sunega, 2015. "Post-Socialist Housing Systems in Europe: Housing Welfare Regimes by Default?," Housing Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(8), pages 1210-1234, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:chosxx:v:30:y:2015:i:8:p:1210-1234
    DOI: 10.1080/02673037.2015.1013090

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Yemtsov, Ruslan, 2007. "Housing Privatization and Household Wealth in Transition," WIDER Working Paper Series 002, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
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    Cited by:

    1. Michelle Norris & Michael Byrne, 2016. "Social housing's role in the Irish property boom and bust," Working Papers 201615, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    2. repec:bla:etrans:v:26:y:2018:i:1:p:127-145 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Petr Huber & Josef Montag, 2018. "Homeownership, Political Participation, and Social Capital in Post- Communist Countries and Western Europe," MENDELU Working Papers in Business and Economics 2018-74, Mendel University in Brno, Faculty of Business and Economics.
    4. Nessa Winston & Patricia Kennedy, 2019. "Severe housing deprivation: Addressing the social sustainability challenge in the EU," Working Papers 201903, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    5. Dorothee Bohle, 2017. "Mortgaging Europe’s periphery," LEQS – LSE 'Europe in Question' Discussion Paper Series 124, European Institute, LSE.

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