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The Housing Wealth of the Aged

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  • Louise Sheiner
  • David N. Weil

Abstract

This paper examines the degree to which the elderly reduce homeownership as they age, and the factors which influence this process. We find that average levels of homeownership decline significantly with age, even when cohort effects are taken into consideration, and that the amount of housing held by people near death is quite low compared to what is seen in cross sections. We estimate that 42% of households will leave behind a house when the last member dies. We also find that the degree to which households reduce homeownership between age 65 and death does not differ greatly between the upper and lower income halves of our sample; that people who do not have children reduce their homeownership more slowly than those who do; that increases in house prices in a state make it more likely that the elderly in that state reduce their home equity; and that the value of houses sold by elderly people tends not remain in their portfolios after the house is sold.

Suggested Citation

  • Louise Sheiner & David N. Weil, 1992. "The Housing Wealth of the Aged," NBER Working Papers 4115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4115
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    1. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 706-732, August.
    2. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1989. "Aging, Moving, and Housing Wealth," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Aging, pages 9-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1990. "But They Don't Want to Reduce Housing Equity," NBER Chapters,in: Issues in the Economics of Aging, pages 13-32 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Axel Borsch-Supan, 1989. "A Dynamic Analysis of Household Dissolution and Living Arrangement Transitions by Elderly Americans," NBER Working Papers 2808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Hurd, Michael D, 1987. "Savings of the Elderly and Desired Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 298-312, June.
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