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Varieties of Home Ownership: Ireland’s transition from a socialised to a marketised policy regime


  • Michelle Norris

    (School of Applied Social Science University College Dublin)


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

Suggested Citation

  • Michelle Norris, 2013. "Varieties of Home Ownership: Ireland’s transition from a socialised to a marketised policy regime," Working Papers 201306, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201306

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ioannides, Yannis M., 1989. "Housing, other real estate, and wealth portfolios : An empirical investigation based on the 1983 Survey of Consumer Finances," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 259-280, May.
    2. Duca, John V. & Rosenthal, Stuart S., 1994. "Borrowing constraints and access to owner-occupied housing," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 301-322, June.
    3. L. Wade, 1988. "Review," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 99-100, July.
    4. Dan Andrews & Aida Caldera Sánchez & Åsa Johansson, 2011. "Housing Markets and Structural Policies in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 836, OECD Publishing.
    5. Dan Andrews & Aida Caldera Sánchez, 2011. "The Evolution of Homeownership Rates in Selected OECD Countries: Demographic and Public Policy Influences," OECD Journal: Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2011(1), pages 1-37.
    6. Quercia, Roberto G. & McCarthy, George W. & Wachter, Susan M., 2003. "The impacts of affordable lending efforts on homeownership rates," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 29-59, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    housing policy regimes; home ownership; Ireland;

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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