Family trajectories and young adults’ homeownership transitions

Rory Coulter, Michael Oxley and Jacqueline Scott, University of Cambridge

(Project no. 0301731, previously 30173)

This project investigates how young adults’ entries into homeownership are affected by (a) parental attributes and (b) domestic living arrangements. The project also examines how the timing of homeownership transitions has changed over the last forty years (1971-2011). This will be achieved using descriptive statistical analyses and multilevel modelling.

Access to LS micro-data is being requested as part of a three-year ESRC ‘Future Research Leaders’ project. This project aims to understand how family trajectories influence the nature and timing of young adults’ homeownership transitions. The project will commence in November 2014 and run until October 2017. Access to the LS will be required throughout this period, although it is envisaged that most of the analysis of LS data will take place in 2015-16.

The project is divided into two strands. The first will analyse how young adults’ housing tenure pathways have changed over time and how this is linked to demographic change, principally in terms of domestic living arrangements (eg. rising rates of cohabitation, lone parenthood and ‘solo living’).

This strand of research will draw on the LS to answer several specific questions:

a. To what extent are homeownership rates across young adulthood lower for more recent birth cohorts?

b. How are young adults’ transitions in and out of homeownership linked to their domestic living arrangements and family backgrounds?

c. How has the role of domestic living arrangements and family backgrounds changed over time? To what extent is this linked to changes in the labour market and housing system?

The second strand of research focuses on how family backgrounds and domestic living arrangements affect when young adults enter and exit homeownership. This strand will draw on rich panel survey data gathered by the British Household Panel Survey and Understanding Society. An internationally comparative dimension will be incorporated into the project by integrating these datasets with data from their ‘sister’ household panel surveys in Australia (HILDA), Germany (GSOEP) and the United States (PSID). This will be achieved with the assistance of overseas collaborators.

This second strand of research seeks answers to several questions:

d. To what extent are young adults increasingly delaying first-time homeownership? How is this linked to changes in domestic living arrangements, as well as labour and housing market restructuring?

e. How does family background affect when young people enter homeownership?

f. Does entering homeownership in young adulthood contribute to well-being and life satisfaction?

Further details on the aims of the project and the methods to be employed can be found in the attached ‘Case for Support’ document. This was submitted as part of the application for research funding.

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