Households’ heterogeneous welfare effects of using home equity for life cycle consumption

Using a life-cycle model and a representative sample of households, we analyze the extent to which using home equity leads to (heterogeneity in) welfare gains over the life cycle. The most policy-feasible option to borrow against 50% of home equity over the life cycle leads to median (average) welfare gains of 7% (11%). However, we find substantial heterogeneity with half of the households facing a welfare gain between 3% and 13%. Much of this heterogeneity is explained by heterogeneity in households’ income and (housing) wealth and less so by heterogeneity in their demographics or preferences for consumption smoothing and time.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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