Monday, September 03, 2007

Good Faith Inquiry: Who Owns?

In discussing the recent kerfuffle on subprime mortgages, a lot of people have contended that the American subsidies for homeownership are in part to blame, that said subsidies are tax cuts for the wealthy (property owners being wealthier than the average bear), and that other countries incentivize homeownership to a much lesser extent.

That would seem to imply that rates of owner-occupied housing in countries like Great Britain, Germany, and France are substantially lower than the American rate. My question is: Who owns the housing stock there, if not owners? I'm sure the answer is partially "the government," but do other countries have more of their housing stock owned by extremely wealthy individuals or corporations? That would be at odds with the general image of these countries' levels of economic inequality.
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