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Title: Owner-occupancy  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Housing tenure, Imputed rent, Private rented sector, Thatcherism, Conservative Way Forward
Collection: Ownership, Real Estate
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Owner-occupancy or home-ownership is a form of housing tenure where a person, called the owner-occupier, owner-occupant, or home owner, owns the home in which they live. This home can be house, apartment, condominium, or a housing cooperative. In addition to providing housing, owner-occupancy also functions as a real estate investment.


  • Acquisition 1
  • Government assistance 2
  • Pros and cons 3
  • International statistics 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Some homes are constructed by the owners with the intent to occupy. Many are inherited. A large number are purchased, as new homes from a real estate developer or as an existing home from a previous landlord or owner-occupier.

A house is usually the most expensive single purchase an individual or family makes, and often costs several times the annual household income. Given the high cost, most individuals do not have enough savings on hand to pay the entire amount outright. In developed countries, mortgage loans are available from financial institutions in return for interest. If the home owner fails to meet the agreed repayment schedule, a foreclosure (known as a repossession in some countries) may result.

Government assistance

In several government-run home sale programs, such as those run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, owner-occupants are given preferential consideration on bids offered; some programs such as "Good Neighbor Next Door" are limited to certain professions who are required to be owner-occupants.[1]

Pros and cons

Home ownership gives occupants the right to modify the building and land as they please (subject to government, homeowner association, and deed restrictions), protects them from eviction, and creates a right to occupation which can be inherited. In some jurisdictions, it also confers certain legal rights with regard to abutters.

Houses and the land they sit on are expensive, and the combination of monthly mortgage, insurance, maintenance and repairs, and property tax payments are sometimes greater than monthly rental costs. Buildings may also gain and lose substantial value due to real estate market fluctuations, and selling a property can take a long time, depending on market conditions. This can make home ownership more constraining if the homeowner intends to move at a future date. Some home owners see their purchase as an investment and intend to either sell or rent the property after renovating or letting the house appreciate in value (known as flipping if done quickly).

Compared to renters and absentee landlords, owner-occupiers are sometimes seen as more responsible toward property maintenance and community concerns, since they are more directly affected.[2]

Traditionally home-ownership has been encouraged by governments in Western countries (especially Anglosphere countries) because it was thought to help people acquire wealth, to encourage savings, and promote civic engagement. However the housing market crash of 2008 in most of the English-speaking world has caused academic and policy-makers to question this logic.[3]

International statistics

Percentage of owner-occupied units in urban areas, by country
Country % Owner-Occupied Units in Urban Areas Urban Population, % of Total
Argentina 67% 92%
Armenia 96% 64%
Australia 68% 89%
Azerbaijan 71% 52%
Brazil 74% 87%
Bulgaria 87% 73%
Canada 68% 81%
Chile 69% 89%
China 89% 45%
Colombia 50% 75%
Costa Rica 75% 94%
Czech Republic 47% 74%
Denmark 54% 87%
Egypt 37% 43%
France 47% 78%
Germany 43% 74%
Haiti 60% 48%
Hong Kong 53% 100%
Hungary 93% 68%
India 87% 30%
Indonesia 67% 54%
Italy 80% 68%
Kazakhstan 96% -
Kenya - 22%
Republic of Korea 56% 82%
Malawi - 19%
Malaysia - 72%
Mexico 71% 78%
Mongolia - 58%
Morocco 62% 57%
Namibia 69% 35%
Netherlands 59% 83%
New Zealand 67% 87%
Nigeria 10% 50%
Norway 77% 78%
Pakistan - 37%
Panama 66% 75%
Peru - 72%
Philippines 80% 66%
Poland 69% 61%
Romania 97% 54%
Russia 81% 73%
Rwanda - 19%
Senegal - 43%
Singapore 87% 100%
South Africa 62% 62%
Spain 85% 77%
Sri Lanka 82% 15%
Sweden 41% 85%
Switzerland 40% 74%
Tanzania - 26%
Thailand 75% 34%
Tunisia 78% 67%
Turkey 81% 70%
Uganda - 13%
Ukraine - 68%
United Kingdom 50% 90%
United States 65% 82%
Uruguay 59% 93%
Venezuela 83% 94%
Vietnam - 28%
Zimbabwe - 38%

Source: Housing Finance Information Network (HOFINET)[4]

See also


  1. ^ About Good Neighbor Next Door
  2. ^ The Advantages of Renting
  3. ^ "Shelter, or burden?". The Economist. 2009-04-16. 
  4. ^ Housing Finance Information Network (HOFINET)

External links

  • Home Ownership Rate by U.S. State – Aggregation of Federal Reserve economic data
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