DEMHOW is a 33-month research project funded by the European Union under the Socio-Economic and Humanities theme of its Framework 7 programme.
DEMHOW’s starting point is the observation that macro processes of demographic change that are leading to an EU-wide shrinking and ageing of populations are accompanied by another macro process: the EU-wide changes to housing systems. In almost all the member states in recent decades there has been a significant increase in the size of home ownership sectors, so that some two-thirds of European households now own their homes.
The co-incidence of these two macro processes suggests the intriguing question of the extent to which home ownership provides a potential cure for some of the consequences of ageing populations, as well as contributes to the causes.
DEMHOW commenced in March 2008. Its 12 partners, who are drawn from across the member states of the European Union, are undertaking research and other activities in order to:
- investigate how the composition of wealth has changed with respect, in particular, to changes in population, housing systems, state pension arrangements, and financial institutions;
- investigate how attitudes toward the acquisition of housing assets and their use in old age are changing, particularly given that fewer people have children;
- identify past and future developments in financial markets, particularly in relation to equity release products;
- identify past and future developments in national and EU public policies in relation to the growth of home ownership and the use of housing equity in old age;
- identify the characteristics of pension systems based on housing assets;
- undertake dialogue and dissemination activities with researchers;
- undertake dialogue and dissemination activities with policy makers and others involved in the policy process.
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