Residential Immobility of the Elderly: An Empirical Investigation

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Abstract

This paper investigates the reasons for the substantially lower residential mobility rates among the elderly than the non-elderly. Households with low propensities to move are posited to be those that face few benefits from moving—that is, they are near equilibrium with respect to their housing consumption and tenure choice—or those that face large costs to moving. Using household data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, measures of housing disequilibrium and tenure disequilibrium were constructed. Elderly renters were found to be largely in equilibrium and would benefit little from moving. In contrast, elderly homeowners are more likely to be in substantial disequilibrium than their younger counterparts. Conclusions as to which costs to moving are most salient could not be made.

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