Calculated homes, stretched emotions: Unmasking 'rational' investor-occupier subjects in large family homes in a coastal Sydney development
Owner-occupation is axiomatic in Australia and other Western housing markets. Amidst financialisation imperatives, the owned house is dually cast as a financial asset and instrument, while simultaneously persisting in its domestic role as 'home'. This paper investigates emotional performances and accompanying socio-material expressions underwriting the figure of the investor-occupier subject. Ethnographic research was conducted in a new housing development in an increasingly affluent coastal setting in southern Sydney, where 21 households participated in semi-structured walking interviews focusing on purchasing decisions, building a new home, and early homemaking practices. Following the stories of new residents, three themes emerged, around which our analysis is structured: how households articulated overlapping domestic and economic ideals of home; the emotional performance of a calculative investor subject; and how ideals of opportunity and competitiveness became reflected materially in newly built homes. The paper explores moments of suppressed emotional complexity surrounding matters of financial expenditure - unmasking the 'rational' investor-occupier. We conclude by exploring what is potentially lost or gained from rewriting financially the emotional cues of the family home.