Disentangling the Housing Satisfaction Puzzle: Does Homeownership Really Matter?
There is a general consensus that homeownership has beneficial effects for both individuals and society in many outcomes. However, research regarding the effect of homeownership on individuals' subjective well-being remains inconclusive. In this paper, for the first time, we provide empirical evidence for the link between homeownership and housing satisfaction using panel data. We use the eight waves of the European Community Household Panel (ECHP) covering the period 1994-2001. We observe that renters who become homeowners not only experience a significant increase in housing satisfaction, but also after changing their tenure status, they obtain a different utility from the same housing context. This evidence might provide support to the hypothesis that a share of the differences in the perceived utility derived from housing can be attributed to (un)fulfilled expectations or aspirations regarding homeownership. Keywords: Housing satisfaction, subjective well-being, homeownership, fixed-effects, housing aspirations JEL classification: D1, R2.
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