The Missing Home Buyers: Regional Heterogeneity and Credit Contractions

72 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2021 Last revised: 31 May 2022

Date Written: May 30, 2022


This paper demonstrates that the protracted decrease in young home ownership since the Great Recession was driven by high-house price regions, despite credit standards changing mostly nationally. Using a panel of U.S. metro areas, I calibrate an equilibrium spatial macro-finance model with overlapping generations of mobile households. The dynamics of regional housing markets is explained by the heterogeneous impacts of an aggregate credit contraction rather than by local shocks. Lower Millennial income and wealth amplify this effect. The impact of subsidies to first-time buyers is dampened, because they fail to stimulate regions that suffer larger busts. Place-based subsidies achieve larger gains.

Keywords: Spatial macro-finance, home ownership, first-time buyers, mortgages, credit standards, house prices, Millennials

JEL Classification: E21, G11, G21, G51, J11, R30

Suggested Citation

Mabille, Pierre, The Missing Home Buyers: Regional Heterogeneity and Credit Contractions (May 30, 2022). INSEAD Working Paper No. 2021/12/FIN, Available at SSRN: or

Pierre Mabille (Contact Author)

INSEAD - Finance ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
F-77305 Fontainebleau Cedex


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