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Do households use home-ownership to insure themselves? Evidence across U.S. cities

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  • Amior, Michael
  • Halket, Jonathan

Abstract

Are households more likely to be homeowners when “housing risk” is higher? We show that home-ownership rates and loan-to-value (LTV) ratios at the city level are strongly negatively correlated with local house price volatility. However, causal inference is confounded by house price levels, which are systematically correlated with housing risk in an intuitive way: in cities where the land value is larger relative to the local cost of structures, house prices are higher and more volatile. We disentangle the contributions of high price levels from high volatilities by building a life-cycle model of home-ownership choices. We find that higher price levels can explain most of the lower home-ownership. Higher risk in the model leads to slightly lower home-ownership and LTV ratios in high land value cities. The relationship between LTV and risk is corroborated by LTV's negative correlation with price volatility in the data and highlights the importance of including other means of incomplete insurance in models of home-ownership.

Suggested Citation

  • Amior, Michael & Halket, Jonathan, 2014. "Do households use home-ownership to insure themselves? Evidence across U.S. cities," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 60635, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:60635
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/60635/
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    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan Halket & Lars Nesheim & Florian Oswald, 2015. "The housing stock, housing prices, and user costs: The roles of location, structure and unobserved quality," Sciences Po publications cwp73/15, Sciences Po.
    2. Yuliya Demyanyk & Dmytro Hryshko & María Jose Luengo-Prado & Bent E. Sørensen, 2017. "Moving to a Job: The Role of Home Equity, Debt, and Access to Credit," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 149-181, April.
    3. Charles Ka Yui LEUNG & Joe Cho Yiu NG, 2018. "Macro Aspects of Housing," ISER Discussion Paper 1030, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    4. Demyanyk, Yuliya & Hryshko, Dmytro & Luengo-Prado, Maria Jose & Sorensen, Bent E., 2016. "Moving to a new job: the role of home equity, debt, and access to credit," Working Papers 16-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    5. Halket, Jonathan R & Vasudev, Santhanagopalan, 2012. "Home Ownership, Savings, and Mobility Over The Life Cycle," Economics Discussion Papers 2876, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    6. Mika Kortelainen & Tuukka Saarimaa, 2012. "Do Homeowners Benefit Urban Neighborhoods? Evidence from Housing Prices," SERC Discussion Papers 0110, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    7. John Gathergood & Joerg Weber, 2015. "Is Poor Financial Literacy a Barrier to Home Ownership?," Discussion Papers 2015/16, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).
    8. Halket, Jonathan R & Pignatti, Matteo, 2012. "Housing tenure choices with private information," Economics Discussion Papers 8961, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    9. Jonathan Halket & Santhanagopalan Vasudev, 2014. "Saving Up or Settling Down: Home Ownership over the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(2), pages 345-366, April.
    10. repec:eee:juecon:v:99:y:2017:i:c:p:62-78 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Davis, Morris A. & Van Nieuwerburgh, Stijn, 2015. "Housing, Finance, and the Macroeconomy," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    12. Anson T. Y. Ho & Jie Zhou, 2016. "Housing and Tax-Deferred Retirement Accounts," Staff Working Papers 16-24, Bank of Canada.
    13. Jonathan Halket & Lars Nesheim & Florian Oswald, 2015. "The housing stock, housing prices, and user costs: the roles of location, structure and unobserved quality," CeMMAP working papers CWP73/15, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    14. Halket, Jonathan & Pignatti Morano di Custoza, Matteo, 2015. "Homeownership and the scarcity of rentals," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 107-123.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    home-ownership; housing risk; land share; loan-to-value; life-cycle; PTA-026-27-2395; ESRC-CeMMAP Grant; ES/I034021/1;

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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