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Attitudes towards housing equity release strategies among older home owners: A European comparison

Abstract: The ageing of European societies, the mounting pressure on pension systems, the rise of home ownership and the growth in house prices have sparked interest in housing equity release options and strategies. Much of the available literature approaches this topic through a financial lens, focusing on equity release schemes as a way to free up housing equity while remaining in the dwelling. However, there are also other ways in which housing wealth can be extracted, such as downsizing, moving to a rental dwelling or subletting part of the dwelling. There is very little recent international comparative insight into the perceptions and preferences of older home owners with regard to this matter. Which housing equity release strategy do they prefer and why? And to what extent is their decision to release housing equity influenced by the bequest motive? Based on focus group research in six European countries (Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hungary, Italy and the Netherlands), this paper observes some general trends and identifies a number of country specific variations.
Keywords: Home ownership / Housing equity release strategies / Bequest motive / Comparative research

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