Researchers at St Andrews University will carry out a three-year study into housing inequality.
The £700,000 three-year study will look at the difficulties younger people face in accessing housing.
It will also address the effects of an ageing population.
Dr Beverley Searle of the University’s Centre for Housing Research (CHR), is leading the study alongside colleagues from St Andrews, Birmingham and Durham universities.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Dr Searle said: "Housing wealth differences are key to understanding inequalities that exist in Britain now, but they also are critical in shaping the likely future differences between generations.
"Five years on from the first signs of the end of the housing upswing, Britain faces not just the prospect of a long slow recovery for the economy but also the consequences of an ageing society."
Dr Searle added: "It is often assumed that people who own their own property have the financial means to support themselves and their families. But relying on housing wealth can be a risky strategy. People are living longer so any wealth they do have will need to support them for much longer than in the past.
“As we have recently seen, not for the first time, the housing market can fall rapidly. This leaves families exposed and vulnerable at a time when they may be in most need of a financial safety net. Many home owners struggle to get by, whilst those who rent and have no housing wealth are at a disadvantage."
The project launch was backed by Kate Barker, author of the Barker review of UK housing supply. She said: "Understanding the future patterns and uses of housing wealth in Britain will be at the core of shaping not only recovery in housing opportunities for the young but also the ways in which the nation copes with ageing.
"The present government has so far failed to improve on the record of its predecessors in delivering effective housing market outcomes. Present policy arrangements fail to grapple with market realities and their consequences for young and old; and may reinforce the significant housing wealth gaps. These gaps result in unjust outcomes now and in the future."