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House Price Volatility and Housing Ownership over the Lifecycle

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UCL Discovery
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Abstract

We develop and test a model on the effects of spatial housing price risk on housing choice. Housing price risk can be substantial but, unlike other risky assets which people can avoid, most people want to eventually own their home thereby creating an insurance demand for housing ownership early in life. With increasing demographic needs over the life cycle, our model predicts that people living in places with higher housing price risk should own their first home at a younger age, should live in larger homes, and should be less likely to refinance. These predictions are shown to hold using comparable panel data from the United States and United Kingdom. (JEL D12, D91)

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