Debt amnesia: homeowners’ discourses on the financial costs and gains of homebuying

Adriana Mihaela Soaita, Beverley Ann Searle

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    In Anglo-Saxon societies, homeowners expect to create synergies between the owned house seen as a space of shelter, a place of home, a store of wealth and increasingly, an investment vehicle (and an object of debt). Drawing on interviews with owner-occupiers and on historic house value and mortgage data in Great Britain, we examine the way in which homes’ meanings are negotiated through the subjective calculation of the financial costs and gains of homebuying. We explore homebuyers’ miscalculation of gains, their disregard of inflation and more generally, the inconspicuousness of debt in relation to gains within their accounts, which we term ‘debt amnesia’. We show that the phenomenon of debt amnesia is socially constructed by congruent socio-linguistic, cultural, institutional and ideological devices besides being supported by historic growth in house values. Informed by the ideas of ‘tacit knowledge’ and ‘metaphoric understanding’, we reflect on how the occurrence of the unspoken and the partiality of metaphor reinforce the internalisation of homeownership.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1087–1106
    JournalEnvironment and Planning A
    Volume48
    Issue number6
    Early online date14 Mar 2016
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

    Keywords

    • Housing
    • Mortgage debt
    • Home ownership
    • Metaphor
    • Tacit knowledge
    • Inequality
    • Housing inequality
    • UK

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