The changing nature of outright homeownership in Romania: Housing wealth and housing inequality

A.M. Soaita

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter traces the historical construction and persistence of almost universal, outright owner-occupation of housing in Romania, which assists understanding of the centrality of homeownership to household welfare in Romania. It thus traces the enduring legacies of historic forms of housing provision to the current characteristics of the housing system that restrict the potential to draw upon this mortgage-free housing wealth as a resource for family welfare in twenty-first century Romania. The paper specifically addresses the ways that housing availability and quality, mobility practices and affordability render the outright owner-occupied home as a form of wealth that can be mobilized to provide for family welfare. The analysis draws on secondary data sources and delineates between the two faces of inequality, those of exclusion and unequal inclusion. Regarding the financial possibilities facilitated by homeownership, exclusion distinguishes homeowners from non-homeowners; while non-homeowners are generally taken to be renters and the homeless, they can also refer to the many individuals living rent-free in complex, family-related households in Romania. Unequal inclusion highlights inequalities among owner-occupiers, for instance, in terms of housing quality and suitability to household characteristics but also in terms of single or multiple-dwelling ownership. The paper concludes by arguing that the nature of homeownership in Romania affords passive and reactive approaches rather than proactive strategies for mobilizing housing wealth as a source for family welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHousing wealth and welfare
EditorsC. Dewilde, R. Ronald
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishers
ISBN (Print)978 1 78536 095 4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Romania
  • Eastern Europe
  • post-communism
  • Housing
  • Homeownership
  • Welfare


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