Nest-building or investing in the future? Owner-occupier's home improvement behaviour

M. Munro, P. Leather

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    37 Citations (Scopus)


    This article uses qualitative data to explore in detail owners' accounts of why they choose to undertake particular works on their houses. It argues that motivation is strongly linked to the importance people place on their homes as a site of comfort and the locus of family life. This suggests that 'consumption'-motivated expenditure is frequently prioritised rather than 'investment' motivated work. This helps explain why there is considerable disrepair identified in the owner-occupied stock, despite owners' apparently good intentions and considerable ongoing expenditure on the stock. It also suggests that policy measures predicated on evaluating owner's returns from investing in their housing and altering such incentives are unlikely to be sufficient to solve problems of underinvestment in owner-occupied housing. A detailed linking of motivations and constraints that affect owners across the life-course enables a mapping of the points at which disrepair is likely to occur and become problematic, and indicates the likely potential for and limits to policy measures designed to tackle disrepair in the owner-occupied sector.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)511-526
    Number of pages16
    JournalPolicy and Politics
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


    • Homeownership
    • Housing repair
    • Repair attitudes
    • Repair behaviour


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