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Net worth and housing equity in retirement
This paper documents the trends in the life-cycle profiles of net worth and housing equity between 1983 and 2004. The net worth of older households significantly increased during the housing boom of recent years. However, net worth grew by more than housing equity, in part because other assets also appreciated at the same time. Moreover, the younger elderly offset rising house prices by increasing their housing debt, and used some of the proceeds to invest in other assets. The authors also consider how much of their housing equity older households can actually tap, using reverse mortgages. ...
Owner-occupied housing as a hedge against rent risk
The conventional wisdom that homeownership is very risky ignores the fact that the alternative, renting, is also risky. Owning a house provides a hedge against fluctuations in housing costs, but in turn introduces asset price risk. In a simple model of tenure choice with endogenous house prices, the authors show that the net risk of owning declines with a household?s expected horizon in its house and with the correlation in housing costs in future locations. Empirically, they find that both house prices, relative to rents, and the probability of homeownership increase with net rent risk
Assessing high house prices: bubbles, fundamentals, and misperceptions
We construct measures of the annual cost of single-family housing for 46 metropolitan areas in the United States over the last 25 years and compare them with local rents and incomes as a way of judging the level of housing prices. Conventional metrics like the growth rate of house prices, the price-to-rent ratio, and the price-to-income ratio can be misleading because they fail to account both for the time series pattern of real long-term interest rates and predictable differences in the long-run growth rates of house prices across local markets. These factors are especially important in ...