Homeownership in later life: Does divorce matter?

Caroline Dewilde, Haya Stier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


This paper evaluates whether the experience of marital breakdown during the life course is associated with the likelihood of exiting from homeownership, and whether this association varies across Europe. In line with previous research on the short- and medium-term housing and economic consequences of divorce, we find that for European men and women alike, this life event is associated with a lower likelihood of being a homeowner in later life. This negative association furthermore varies across institutional contexts, as indicated by: the housing regime (in particular access to mortgage credit); welfare state support; and female employment. In a context of increasing divorce rates and a stronger reliance on housing wealth as a form of welfare provision, our findings may have important policy implications. In many countries, homeownership forms part of the pension mix and hence contributes to economic security. Other benefits relate to housing quality, security of tenure and independence.
Keywords: Consequences of divorce, Homeownership, Housing regimes, Life courses, Well-being in later life
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-42
JournalAdvances in Life Course Research
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Consequences of divorce
  • Homeownership
  • Housing regimes
  • Life courses
  • Well-being in later life


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