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WPS No.44 | Hochstenbach, C. & Arundel, R. (2020) | Unravelling the unequal geography of declining young adult homeownership in the Netherlands

In this working paper, Cody Hochstenbach and Rowan Arundel analyze declining young adult homeownership rates across the Netherlands, and their geography.

Across countries, the position of young adults on the housing market has worsened over the past decade. Young adults’ decreasing access to homeownership has garnered particular attention. Most studies analyzing young adults’ housing market entry focus on micro-level determinants or national-level patterns and trends. This paper adds an important perspective by focusing on spatial variations within a single country, unravelling pronounced inter-municipal differences. Our case is the Netherlands, where we use full-population register data for the 2011-2018 period to analyse spatial patterns and trends using a range of quantitative and spatial methods. Our findings highlight a notable decrease in owner-occupancy among young adults in the Netherlands over the period. This decrease is strongest among households in their late twenties, but extends to those in their early forties. Spatial analyses reveal both geographic commonalities and clear divergences. Declining young homeownership was found across 87% of municipalities, suggesting a common experience. Analyses also reveal stark spatial disparities, with the strongest decreases in the most urbanized regions, particularly large cities. Finally, using advanced spatial regression modelling we explore municipal characteristics, revealing how local housing and population factors may explain pronounced differenced in changing young adult homeownership entry. The analyses particularly emphasize links between housing unaffordability and ‘pull factors’ driving higher housing market pressure as determinants of worsening homeownership opportunities for young adults.