NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Expected Home Ownership and Real Wealth Accumulation of Youth

Donald R. Haurin, Patric H. Hendershott, Susan M. Wachter

NBER Working Paper No. 5629
Issued in June 1996
NBER Program(s):   PE

This paper describes the real wealth accumulation of American youth and relates this behavior to variations in real constant-quality house prices in their localities of residence. We argue that increases in the real constant-quality house price have two offsetting effects on wealth. First, the greater the local constant-quality price of housing, the greater the wealth needed to meet the lender imposed down payment constraint if housing demand is price inelastic. However, increased real constant-quality house price reduces the likelihood of home ownership and thus the desire the accumulate wealth needed for a down payment. Using a panel data set for youth age 20-33 for the years 1985 through 1990 we find that the combined direct and indirect impact of variations in real constant-quality house price on wealth is modest for changes near the average real house price, but youths' wealth declines substantially in areas with high real house price.

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