Asset-based Welfare, Equity Release and the Meaning of the Owned Home

Lorna Fox O'Mahony, Louise Overton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


The advantages of ownership—both financial and personal—were a prominent theme in UK government policies promoting owner-occupation in the latter half of the twentieth century. More recently, the liberal discourses of the ‘ownership society’ have been conflated with the neo-liberalisation of welfare to restructure the socio-political ideology of ownership around accumulation and decumulation of housing wealth. This paper analyses findings from a new qualitative study to explore the tensions that this shift has created for owner-identities. Equity release transactions provide a prime context to explore the role of homeownership ideologies on participation in asset-based welfare: these are conceived as products that enable older owners to de-cumulate housing equity while continuing to occupy their homes and retaining the ‘badge’ of ownership. This paper focuses on the impact of housing wealth decumulation through equity release on the meanings of the owned home and to reflect on the role of feelings about ownership on participation in asset-based welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-412
JournalHousing Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2014


  • Asset-based welfare
  • meanings of home
  • equity release
  • debt


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