Avoiding Intergenerational Conflict: Intermediated Equity Release to Improve Housing Conditions for both the Young and Old People

Essay written in autumn 2019 for the Demography Prize 2019 organised by the Stuttgart-based Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (FRFG) and the London-based Intergenerational Foundation (IF) on the issue: “Housing Crisis: how can we improve the situation for young people?”.

Sometimes framed as an intergenerational conflict, the housing crisis may indeed affect the young in a more severe way in terms of physical access due to a chronic shortage of dwellings in Europe and the increasing concentration of demand in big cities or their vicinities, however this explanatory model neglects other issues connected with housing such as maintenance costs and location.

We argue for the creation of an equity release programme with the intermediation of municipalities in order to reduce under-occupancy and increase housing density, thus augmenting supply for all home-seekers, young people included, while providing an answer to old-age poverty, limiting further land artificialisation and suburban sprawl and improving energy efficiency of the private housing stock.

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