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Security and Insecurity of Home Ownership: Germany and the Netherlands


  • Janneke Toussaint
  • Gudrun Tegeder
  • Marja Elsinga
  • Ilse Helbrecht


This paper examines the experience of households in two adjacent countries, Germany and the Netherlands, both of which have relatively modest levels of home ownership but significantly different housing systems. Population growth is slowing down in Germany, while it is still increasing in the Netherlands. German house prices are stable while Dutch prices have been rising considerably for 25 years now. The central question is whether people in these two different contexts, which are both faced with globalization and social security reforms, have similar perceptions of the securities and insecurities of home ownership. The paper is based on institutional studies and 20 interviews among home owners and ten interviews among tenants in both countries. The central issues here are the perceptions of (in)security and equity. The paper concludes that in both countries home ownership is perceived as a nest-egg and a 'pension in stone'. However, it is also associated with insecurity. In Germany many households saw house prices as a source of insecurity. This can be explained by strong fluctuations in house prices in Germany and the fear that the declining population might adversely affect the situation and hence the 'pension in stone'. In the Netherlands a policy change—particularly a change in tax relief for mortgage-holders—was the main worry.

Suggested Citation

  • Janneke Toussaint & Gudrun Tegeder & Marja Elsinga & Ilse Helbrecht, 2007. "Security and Insecurity of Home Ownership: Germany and the Netherlands," International Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(2), pages 173-192.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:intjhp:v:7:y:2007:i:2:p:173-192 DOI: 10.1080/14616710701308562

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller, 1988. "The behavior of home buyers in boom and post-boom markets," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Nov, pages 29-46.
    2. Trevor Fitzpatrick & Kieran Mcquinn, 2007. "House Prices And Mortgage Credit: Empirical Evidence For Ireland," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 75(1), pages 82-103, January.
    3. Irene de Greef & Ralph de Haas, 2002. "Housing Prices, Bank Lending, and Monetary Policy," Macroeconomics 0209010, EconWPA.
    4. Martins, Nuno C. & Villanueva, Ernesto, 2006. "The impact of mortgage interest-rate subsidies on household borrowing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1601-1623, September.
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