Homeownership regimes and class inequality among young adults

Or Cohen Raviv*, Noah Lewin-Epstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we merge the literature on homeownership regimes, which focuses to a lesser extent on the consequences of wealth and social inequality, with the literature on wealth and social stratification, which overlooks the importance of homeownership regimes in contributing to those inequalities. Within this framework, we examine to what extent homeownership regimes shape class inequality in homeownership among young adults and the mortgage debt burden that usually accompanies it. We first develop an updated typology of homeownership regimes that incorporates the role of the family via intergenerational wealth transfers (IWT) such as gifts and housing assets. This dimension was theoretically underdeveloped and empirically absent from previous homeownership typologies. Second, we employ this typology to investigate class-based gaps in homeownership and mortgage debt burden within and between homeownership regimes. This is done by pooling data for a total of 20 countries from two sources: the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) 2013–2014 (EuroStat) for EU countries, and the Household Expenditure Survey 2012–2013 (CBS) for Israel. Using multivariate modeling, we find that homeownership regimes in which IWT in the form of financial support is common practice increase class inequality in homeownership compared to regimes in which IWT of assets is common practice. Contrary to the literature suggesting that liberal mortgage markets advance inclusion, it appears that in the homeownership regime characterized by the most liberal housing finance system (which includes Northern European countries and the Netherlands), class inequality in mortgaged homeownership is the widest but class inequality in mortgage debt burden is the narrowest. Homeownership regimes characterized by IWT of assets (which include Southern and Central Eastern European countries) reveal the opposite patterns. We discuss the implications of our findings for the literature on homeownership regimes and wealth inequality, with a specific focus on young adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-434
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Journal of Comparative Sociology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Class inequality
  • homeownership
  • homeownership regimes
  • mortgage debt
  • wealth inequality
  • young adults


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