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Homeownership, social capital and satisfaction with local government.

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Urban Studies, 50(12), 2517-2534

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This article investigates the relationship between homeownership and social capital accumulation in New Zealand.

It critically examines the theory that homeownership enhances social capital through increased community interaction and investment. The study utilises data from New Zealand’s Quality of Life (QoL) survey, merged with regional data from Statistics New Zealand, to explore the impacts of homeownership on various aspects of social capital, including community participation, trust in others, and attitudes towards local government. The research employs regression and propensity score matching (PSM) techniques to control for personal characteristics and biases that may affect the relationship between homeownership and social capital. The findings indicate that homeownership positively correlates with community participation, sense of community, and trust in others, but negatively with attitudes towards local government. The paper concludes that while homeownership enhances certain dimensions of social capital, it also presents complexities in the relationship between property ownership and local governance efficacy. This study provides a nuanced understanding of the social implications of homeownership in New Zealand. It contributes to the broader discourse on the societal benefits of property ownership, particularly in terms of fostering community ties and civic engagement. One of the key findings is the positive association between homeownership and community participation, reinforcing the idea that property owners are more invested in their local communities. However, the negative correlation with attitudes towards local government highlights a more complex dynamic, suggesting that homeowners may be more critical or demanding of local governance.

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