Debt amnesia: homeowners’ discourses on the financial costs and gains of homebuying
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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.
Soaita , A M & Searle , B A 2016 , ' Debt amnesia: homeowners’ discourses on the financial costs and gains of homebuying ' Environment and Planning A , vol 48 , no. 6 , pp. 1087–1106 . DOI: 10.1177/0308518X16638095
Environment and Planning A
Copyright The Author(s) 2016. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0308518X16638095
The article was prepared under the project Mind the (Housing) Wealth Gap, funded by the Leverhulme Trust (RP2011-IJ-024).