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Can housing wealth alleviate poverty among Britain's older population?

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  • Ruth Hancock

Abstract

This paper investigates the scope for housing wealth to alleviate poverty among Britain’s older population by modelling the potential effect of equity-release schemes on the net incomes of older homeowners using data from the 1993-94 and 1994-95 Family Expenditure Surveys. We find that, for the older population in general, the potential impact of equity release on poverty is limited by the positive association between homeownership and income in later life. The scope for equity release to enhance incomes is restricted mainly to the oldest age-groups where life expectancy is short. However, it is at these oldest ages that incomes are lowest and although we estimate that equity release cannot provide much benefit to those in the greatest poverty, the additions to income that equity release could bring to some of the oldest homeowners are not insignificant.

Suggested Citation

  • Ruth Hancock, 1998. "Can housing wealth alleviate poverty among Britain's older population?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(3), pages 249-272, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:19:y:1998:i:3:p:249-272
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    File URL: http://www.ifs.org.uk/fs/articles/hancock_aug98.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 1991. "Aging and the income value of housing wealth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 371-397.
    2. Christopher Giles & Julian McCrae, 1995. "TAXBEN: the IFS microsimulation tax and benefit model," IFS Working Papers W95/19, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    3. Bradford Case & Ann B. Schnare, 1994. "Preliminary Evaluation of the HECM Reverse Mortgage Program," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 22(2), pages 301-346.
    4. Christopher J. Mayer & Katerina V. Simons, 1994. "Reverse Mortgages and the Liquidity of Housing Wealth," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 22(2), pages 235-255.
    5. Coulter, Fiona A E & Cowell, Frank A & Jenkins, Stephen P, 1992. "Equivalence Scale Relativities and the Extent of Inequality and Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(414), pages 1067-1082, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Disney, Richard & Henley, Andrew & Stears, Gary, 2002. "Housing costs, house price shocks and savings behaviour among older households in Britain," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 607-625, September.
    2. Lee, Yung-Tsung & Wang, Chou-Wen & Huang, Hong-Chih, 2012. "On the valuation of reverse mortgages with regular tenure payments," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 430-441.
    3. Disney, Richard & Whitehouse, Edward, 2002. "The economic well-being of older people in international perspective: a critical review," MPRA Paper 10333, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Ngee-Choon Chia & Albert K C Tsui, 2005. "Reverse Mortgages as Retirement Financing Instrument : An Option for “Asset-rich and Cash-poor†Singaporeans," Finance Working Papers 22566, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    5. Edward Whitehouse & Richard Disney, 2002. "The Economic Well-Being of Older People in International Perspective: A Critical Review," LIS Working papers 306, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    6. Ngee-Choon Chia & Albert K C Tsui, 2005. "Reverse Mortgages as Retirement Financing Instrument: An Option for “Asset-rich and Cash-poor” Singaporeans," SCAPE Policy Research Working Paper Series 0503, National University of Singapore, Department of Economics, SCAPE.
    7. Joan Costa i Font & Joan Gil & Oscar Mascarilla MirÛ, "undated". "Preferencias de la poblaciÛn ante la financiaciÛn de la dependÈncia: La hipoteca inversa en Espana," Studies on the Spanish Economy 230, FEDEA.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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