Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Housing Decision with Divorce Risk

Fischer, Marcel and Khorunzhina, Natalia (2018): Housing Decision with Divorce Risk. Forthcoming in: International Economic Review

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Abstract

We build a realistically calibrated life-cycle model of housing decisions under divorce risk. As observed in the data, our model predicts the recent increase in divorce rates leads to reduced homeownership rates. The event of a divorce negatively affects homeownership, and this effect is long-lasting. The risk of a divorce triggers a precautionary savings motive. However, this motive is weaker when individuals can invest in owner-occupied homes because homeowners’ higher savings partially substitute for precautionary savings. When young, the larger asset accumulation due to divorce-risk induced precautionary savings enables households to buy homes earlier, whereas the presence of transaction costs leads to reduced homeownership for middle-aged and older households when divorce risk goes up.

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