In the present study, we propose a novel conceptualization of homeownership in the United States as a special commodity, whose consumption involves a two-stage process: homeownership entry wherein the ability to consume is pivotal, and homeownership retention wherein the outcome rests on economic security. Based on the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), we test this conceptualization with consumption ability being proxied by income and economic security by liquid wealth. Three hypotheses are verified: (1) income predicts first-time renters’ chance of becoming homeowners but has weakened influence on homeownership retention; (2) liquid wealth constitutes the central determinant for first-time homeowners’ ability to avoid going back to renting; and (3) nonliquid wealth fails to exhibit a significant impact on either homeownership stage. By revealing the two separate stages of different homeownership dynamics, this study is the first to systematically explore the built-in contradiction of capitalist housing markets. Policy implications are also discussed.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.
- economic security
- asset building
- social policy