Post-socialist housing systems in Europe: Housing welfare regimes by default?

Mark Stephens*, Martin Lux, Petr Sunega

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Citations (Scopus)
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This article develops a conceptual framework derived from welfare regime and concomitant literatures to interpret housing reform in post-socialist European countries. In it, settled power structures and collective ideologies are necessary prerequisites for the creation of distinctive housing welfare regimes with clear roles for the state, market and households. Although the defining feature of post-socialist housing has been mass-privatisation to create super-homeownership societies, the emphatic retreat of the state that this represents has not been replaced by the creation of the institutions or cultures required to create fully financialised housing markets. There is, instead, a form of state legacy welfare in the form of debt-free home-ownership, which creates a gap in housing welfare that has been partially filled by households in the form of intergenerational assistance (familialism) and self-build housing. Both of these mark continuities with the previous regime. The latter is especially common in south-east Europe where its frequent illegality represents a form of anti-state housing. The lack of settled ideologies and power structures suggests that these housing welfare regimes by default will persist as part of a process that resembles a path-dependent ‘transformation’ rather than ‘transition’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1210-1234
Number of pages25
JournalHousing Studies
Issue number8
Early online date10 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • financialisation
  • housing policy
  • transition
  • Welfare regimes


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