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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2010): Social housing - overseas

Individual development accounts for housing policy: analysis of individual and program characteristics

M. Grinstein-Weiss, G.A.N. Chowa and A.M. Casalotti

Housing Studies, vol. 25, 2010, p. 63-82

Most Americans aspire to own their homes, but this is out of the reach of low-income families. Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are matched savings accounts designed to help the working poor save for a home or other assets. This paper examines the outcomes for 1176 IDA participants saving for a home through the American Dream Policy Demonstration, a privately funded effort implemented to study the effectiveness of IDAs. Results indicate that low-income IDA participants can successfully save when provided with structured opportunities.

On the haus

T. Knorr-Siedow

Roof, Jan./Feb. 2010, p. 35-37

This article presents an overview of the German housing system. Since 2006 housing policy has been devolved from the federal level to the 16 Lšnder. Only 41% of households are owner-occupiers. Some 55% rent from private 'amateur' landlords, cooperative housing associations, housing companies in public ownership, religious bodies, and commercial providers such as banks. The legal framework provides tenants with security and strong rent controls, guaranteeing that these remain affordable. Innovation is also springing up through a growing self-organised housing sector throughout the country, led by a range of 'alternative' groups such as squatters and women's groups.

The uneven impact of neoliberalism on housing opportunities

R. Forrest and Y. Hirayama

International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, vol.33, 2009, p. 998-1013

Neoliberalism has dominated policy discourse and policy formulation for at least two decades and has been particularly influential in reshaping housing systems. In the UK it triggered the privatisation of council housing and promotion of home ownership under Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. In Japan, home ownership had always been promoted through the provision of low-interest mortgages through the Government Housing Loan Corporation (GHLC). Neoliberal policies were not adopted until the 1990s, with a retreat from already small-scale public housing provision, the formation of a housing loan security market and the deregulation of institutional mechanisms for the protection of private renters. The GHLC was itself abolished in 2007, leading to an expansion of the private mortgage market. Neoliberal reforms in both countries have led to lower levels of home ownership among the younger generation.

The winners in China's urban housing reform

J.R. Logan, Y. Fang and Z. Zhang

Housing Studies, vol. 25, 2010, p. 101-117

Housing reform in China has proceeded on two tracks since the 1980s: privatization of public housing and development of a new private housing sector. During this transitional period, rents in public housing have remained low, and tenants have been able to buy their homes from the state at below market prices. Although these rents and prices are partly based on known formulas, there is considerable variation in how much people pay for similar apartments. This study uses 2000 Census data to estimate housing subsidy received by remaining renters in the public sector and purchasers of public housing based on private sector prices for housing of comparable quality and size. Results show that the biggest winners in the transition from a socialist housing allocation system are those who were favoured in the previous regime, such as Communist Party officials.

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