Housing Tenure, Uncertainty, and Taxation
39 Pages Posted: 26 May 2004 Last revised: 13 Mar 2021
Date Written: July 1983
Modern empirical work on the choice between renting and owning focuses on the concept of the "user cost" of housing, which integrates into a single measure the various components of housing costs. The standard approach implicitly assumes that households know the user cost of housing with certainty. However, the ex post user cost measure exhibits substantial variability over time, and it is highly unlikely that individuals believe themselves able to forecast these fluctuations with certainty. In this paper, we construct and estimate a model of the tenure choice that explicitly allows for the effects of uncertainty. The results suggest that previous work which ignored uncertainty may have overstated the effects of the income tax system upon the tenure choice.
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