Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Residential opportunities and emancipation strategies in an owner-occupied dominated market

Montserrat Pareja-Eastaway


Different events in the life course of individuals are normally associated with specific
residential choices. In particular, this applies to the process of household formation which, from
the residential perspective, involves moving from the parental house to another dwelling.
Emancipation evidences the preferences of young people for a new habitat and is usually
conditioned by two sets of variables: on the one hand, labour conditions (i.e. a permanent job,
the amount of salary, etc.) and, on the other, the residential opportunities offered by the current
market circumstances. Certainly, a secure occupation in the labour market facilitates the
affordability of rent or mortgage payments. Besides, the better the position is, the broader the
range of housing opportunities. However, the housing market situation and, therefore, the
existence or not of available/affordable residential opportunities for new households might
influence delays or earlier moves in the process of emancipation.
This article will focus on the impact of a certain residential landscape dominated by owneroccupation
and high rents and prices, the Spanish housing market, in the process of
emancipation and residential decisions of young households. The hypothesis to be tested in this
particular context refers to the effects of how scarce affordable residential opportunities have
affected the process of young people emancipation. In particular, the recent growth of housing
prices and rents together with the insufficient renting opportunities in the market will be
analysed under the light of housing careers’ literature: the residential choice of young people is
therefore understood as a combination of housing preferences of population and constraints
imposed by the market. Finally, given the current deceleration of the Spanish housing market
(i.e. less construction and lower housing prices growth rate) and the changing macroeconomic
landscape, especially the hardening of the financial conditions, some hints about those recently
emancipated will be offered.

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