Booms and Busts in Housing Market and Health Outcomes for Older Americans

TitleBooms and Busts in Housing Market and Health Outcomes for Older Americans
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsYue, D, Ponce, N
JournalInnovation in Aging
ISBN Number2399-5300
Keywordshealth, Housing price dynamics, Mortgaged owners, Outright owners, Renters

The U.S. housing market has experienced considerable fluctuations over the last decades. This study aimed to investigate the impacts of housing price dynamics on physical health, mental health, and health-related behaviors for older American outright owners, mortgaged owners, and renters.We drew longitudinal data from the 1992-2016 Health and Retirement Study and merged it to the five-digit ZIP-code level Housing Price Index. The analytic sample comprised 34,182 persons and 174,759 person-year observations. We used a fixed-effects model to identify the health impacts of housing price dynamics separately for outright owners, mortgaged owners, and renters. A 100% increase in Housing Price Index was associated with a 2.81 and 3.50 percentage points (pp) increase in the probability of reporting excellent/very good/good health status for mortgage owners and renters, respectively. It was also related to a lower likelihood of obesity (1.82 pp) for outright owners, and a less chance of obesity (2.85 pp) and smoking (3.03 pp) for renters. All of these relationships were statistically significant (p<0.05). Renters also experienced significantly decreased depression scores (-0.24), measured by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, associated with the same housing price changes.Housing price dynamics have significant health impacts, and renters are more sensitive to fluctuations in the housing market. Our study rules out the wealth effect as the mechanism through which changes in housing prices affect older adults’ health. Our findings may inform policies to promote older adults’ health by investing in local area amenities and improving socioeconomic conditions.

Citation Key11566