Housing Lock: Dutch Evidence on the Impact of Negative Home Equity on Household Mobility
55 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2017
Date Written: December 19, 2017
This paper employs Dutch administrative population data to test the “housing lock hypothesis”: the conjecture that homeowners with negative home equity, low levels of financial assets and restricted opportunities to borrow reduce their mobility. We exploit variation in home equity solely driven by the timing of home purchase within a municipality and the harshness of Dutch recourse laws, which allow us to isolate the housing lock channel. Instrumented negative home equity is associated with a 74-79% decline in mobility, and the effects are substantially larger for households with low financial asset holdings or moves over longer distances.
Keywords: housing lock, mobility, home equity, negative equity, household debt
JEL Classification: D10, G1, J01, J20, J60, J61, R20
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