An economics professor friend, knowing that I like to tell everyone to rent rather than buy, and that back in August 2011 I asked the question Does homeownership lead to longer unemployment? sent me this recent (May 2013) paper from NBER. Unfortunately the full text is not available for free online. Here’s the abstract:
We explore the hypothesis that high home-ownership damages the labor market. Our results are relevant to, and may be worrying for, a range of policy-makers and researchers. We find that rises in the home-ownership rate in a U.S. state are a precursor to eventual sharp rises in unemployment in that state. The elasticity exceeds unity: a doubling of the rate of home-ownership in a U.S. state is followed in the long-run by more than a doubling of the later unemployment rate. What mechanism might explain this? We show that rises in home-ownership lead to three problems: (i) lower levels of labor mobility, (ii) greater commuting times, and (iii) fewer new businesses. Our argument is not that owners themselves are disproportionately unemployed. The evidence suggests, instead, that the housing market can produce negative ‘externalities’ upon the labor market. The time lags are long. That gradualness may explain why these important patterns are so little-known.
Shorter summary: One answer to my August 2011 question is “yes” (but let’s always keep in mind that John Ioannidis would predict that a subsequent paper will find a different answer)
Additional elated older postings on this blog: