Varieties of Home Ownership: Ireland’s transition from a socialised to a marketised policy regime
This paper examines government subsidisation of home ownership in Ireland since the start of the 20th Century. It argues that during the first two thirds of this period, Ireland slowly assembled government home ownership supports of such scale – in terms of the generosity of subsidies, their universal availability and the variety of policy instruments employed in the promotion this tenure – that they equated to a socialised home ownership regime. This helped to raise home ownership to ‘super normal’ levels, initially in the countryside and then in urban areas, by enabling the vast majority of all income groups, even the poorest, to purchase a home. During the 1970s and particularly the 1980s this socialised home ownership system was marketised as universal government subsidies were initially targeted and then abolished, government’s role as a developer/enabler of home owner housing was ended and the mortgage lending system was privatised and then deregulated. The implications of this policy redirection were is guised for a period by low real house price inflation compared to wages. However when the economy started to recover during the late 1990s these implications became clear – the ‘super normal’ home ownership rates underpinned by the socialised regime declined and reverted to ‘normal’ market rates
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