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

Soaita, A. M. and Searle, B. A. (2016) Debt amnesia: Homeowners’ discourses on the financial costs and gains of homebuying. Environment and Planning A, 48(6), pp. 1087-1106. (doi:10.1177/0308518X16638095)

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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.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Soaita, Dr Adriana Mihaela
Authors: Soaita, A. M., and Searle, B. A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Journal Name:Environment and Planning A
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN:0308-518X
ISSN (Online):1472-3409
Published Online:14 March 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Environment and Planning A 48(6): 1087-1106
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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