From Real Estate to Dream Houses: Aspirations and Experiences of Homeownership in Two Maritime Provinces
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Housing research in Canada tends to concentrate on the largest cities and to focus on market forces at large rather than the experiences of people seeking homes. This thesis utilizes ethnographic research with prospective, current, and past homeowners in two Maritime provinces to interrogate how and why the owner-occupied house dominates the contemporary housing market and popular imagination. I describe how explanations of the prevalence of homeownership tend to be rooted in economic logic and argue instead that social and emotional considerations often overshadow financial ones in home-buyers’ decision making. Unpacking the cultural significance of homeownership is a particularly salient endeavor given the current climate of housing unaffordability, which has pushed the issue of homeownership to the foreground of media and policy discussions. This analysis fills a gap in the anthropological housing literature by turning attention to the standard middle-class houses of smaller cities and rural areas, revealing what is at stake for those who aspire to and achieve homeownership as well as the growing number of Canadians who are unable to own a home.