IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/regeco/v43y2013i2p322-337.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Are American homeowners locked into their houses? The impact of housing market conditions on state-to-state migration

Author

Listed:
  • Modestino, Alicia Sasser
  • Dennett, Julia

Abstract

U.S. policymakers are concerned that negative home equity arising from the housing market crash may be constraining geographic mobility and consequently serving as a factor in the persistently high national unemployment rate. Indeed, the widespread drop in house prices since 2007 has increased the share of homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages. At the same time, migration across states and among homeowners has fallen sharply. Using a logistic regression framework to analyze data from the Internal Revenue Service on state-to-state migration between 2006 and 2009, we discover evidence that “house lock” decreases mobility but find that it has a negligible impact on the national unemployment rate. A one-standard deviation increase in the share of underwater nonprime households in the origin state reduces the outflow of migrants from the origin to the destination state by 2.7%. When aggregated across the United States, this decrease in mobility reduces the national state-to-state migration rate by 0.05 percentage points, resulting in roughly 103,000 to 140,000 fewer individuals migrating across state lines in any given year. A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that the impact of reduced mobility due to negative housing equity on the national unemployment rate is likely to be small—on the order of less than one-tenth of a percentage point each year.

Suggested Citation

  • Modestino, Alicia Sasser & Dennett, Julia, 2013. "Are American homeowners locked into their houses? The impact of housing market conditions on state-to-state migration," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 322-337.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:regeco:v:43:y:2013:i:2:p:322-337
    DOI: 10.1016/j.regsciurbeco.2012.08.002
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166046212000725
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Raven E. Saks & Abigail Wozniak, 2011. "Labor Reallocation over the Business Cycle: New Evidence from Internal Migration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(4), pages 697-739.
    2. Larry Long & Kristin Hansen, 1975. "Trends in return migration to the south," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 12(4), pages 601-614, November.
    3. Chan, Sewin, 2001. "Spatial Lock-in: Do Falling House Prices Constrain Residential Mobility?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 567-586, May.
    4. Genesove, David & Mayer, Christopher J, 1997. "Equity and Time to Sale in the Real Estate Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 255-269, June.
    5. Joshua L. Rosenbloom & William A. Sundstrom, 2003. "The Decline and Rise of Interstate Migration in the United States: Evidence from the IPUMS, 1850-1990," NBER Working Papers 9857, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Schulhofer-Wohl, Sam, 2012. "Negative equity does not reduce homeowners’ mobility," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Feb, pages 1-17.
    7. Gabriel, Stuart A. & Shack-Marquez, Janice & Wascher, William L., 1992. "Regional house-price dispersion and interregional migration," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 235-256, September.
    8. Greenwood, Michael J. & Hunt, Gary L., 1989. "Jobs versus amenities in the analysis of metropolitan migration," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 1-16, January.
    9. Raven Molloy & Christopher L. Smith & Abigail Wozniak, 2011. "Internal Migration in the United States," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 173-196, Summer.
    10. Jeremy C. Stein, 1995. "Prices and Trading Volume in the Housing Market: A Model with Down-Payment Effects," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 379-406.
    11. Ferreira, Fernando & Gyourko, Joseph & Tracy, Joseph, 2010. "Housing busts and household mobility," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 34-45, July.
    12. John Schmitt & Kris Warner, 2011. "Deconstructing Structural Unemployment," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2011-06, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    13. Patrick Bajari & Chenghuan Sean Chu & Minjung Park, 2008. "An Empirical Model of Subprime Mortgage Default From 2000 to 2007," NBER Working Papers 14625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Mueser Peter R. & Graves Philip E., 1995. "Examining the Role of Economic Opportunity and Amenities in Explaining Population Redistribution," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 176-200, March.
    15. Farber, Henry S, 2011. "Job Loss in the Great Recession: Historical Perspective from the Displaced Workers Survey, 1984-2010," IZA Discussion Papers 5696, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-1278, December.
    17. David Genesove & Christopher Mayer, 2001. "Loss Aversion and Seller Behavior: Evidence from the Housing Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1233-1260.
    18. Paul S. Davies & Michael J. Greenwood & Haizheng Li, 2001. "A Conditional Logit Approach to U.S. State-to-State Migration," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 337-360.
    19. Quigley, John M, 1987. "Interest Rate Variations, Mortgage Prepayments and Household Mobility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(4), pages 636-643, November.
    20. Daniel Aaronson & Jonathan Davis, 2011. "How much has house lock affected labor mobility and the unemployment rate?," Chicago Fed Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Sep.
    21. Henry S. Farber, 2011. "Job Loss in the Great Recession: Historial Perspective from the Displaced Workers Survey, 1984-2010," Working Papers 1309, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    22. Henley, Andrew, 1998. "Residential Mobility, Housing Equity and the Labour Market," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 414-427, March.
    23. Neil Bhutta & Jane K. Dokko & Hui Shan, 2010. "The depth of negative equity and mortgage default decisions," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-35, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    24. Stuart A. Gabriel & Joe P. Mattey & William L. Wascher, 1995. "The demise of California reconsidered: interstate migration over the economic cycle," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, pages 30-48.
    25. Engelhardt, Gary V., 2003. "Nominal loss aversion, housing equity constraints, and household mobility: evidence from the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 171-195, January.
    26. Henry S. Farber, 2011. "Job Loss in the Great Recession: Historical Perspective from the Displaced Workers Survey, 1984-2010," NBER Working Papers 17040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    27. Sasser, Alicia C., 2010. "Voting with their feet: Relative economic conditions and state migration patterns," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2-3), pages 122-135, May.
    28. Vanderkamp, John, 1971. "Migration Flows, Their Determinants and the Effects of Return Migration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(5), pages 1012-1031, Sept.-Oct.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2013. "Does High Home-Ownership Impair the Labor Market?," NBER Working Papers 19079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Andrea Morescalchi, 2016. "The Puzzle Of Job Search And Housing Tenure: A Reconciliation Of Theory And Empirical Evidence," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 288-312, March.
    3. Karahan, Fatih & Rhee, Serena, 2014. "Population aging, migration spillovers, and the decline in interstate migration," Staff Reports 699, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, revised 01 Apr 2017.
    4. Bricker, Jesse & Bucks, Brian, 2016. "Negative home equity, economic insecurity, and household mobility over the Great Recession," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 1-12.
    5. Foote, Andrew, 2016. "The effects of negative house price changes on migration: Evidence across U.S. housing downturns," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 292-299.
    6. Jennifer Brown & David A. Matsa, 2016. "Locked in by Leverage: Job Search during the Housing Crisis," NBER Working Papers 22929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Siddharth Kothari & Itay Saporta Eksten & Edison Yu, 2013. "The (Un)importance of Geographical Mobility in the Great Recession"," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(3), pages 553-563, July.
    8. repec:eee:regeco:v:66:y:2017:i:c:p:119-131 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Valletta, Robert G., 2013. "House lock and structural unemployment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 86-97.
    10. Alm, James & Enami, Ali, 2017. "Do government subsidies to low-income individuals affect interstate migration? Evidence from the Massachusetts Health Care Reform," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 119-131.
    11. Bloze, Gintautas & Skak, Morten, 2016. "Housing equity, residential mobility and commuting," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 156-165.
    12. Meekes, Jordy & Hassink, Wolter, 2017. "The Role of the Housing Market in Workers' Resilience to Job Displacement after Firm Bankruptcy," IZA Discussion Papers 10894, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. repec:kap:poprpr:v:36:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11113-017-9429-1 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Negative equity; Geographic labor mobility;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:regeco:v:43:y:2013:i:2:p:322-337. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/regec .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.