Housing Mobility and Downsizing at Older Ages in Britain and the United States

by James Banks, Richard Blundell, Zoe Oldfield, James P. Smith

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This paper examines geographic mobility and housing downsizing at older ages in Britain and America. Americans downsize housing much more than the British largely because Americans are much more mobile. The principal reasons for greater mobility among older Americans are two fold: (1) greater spatial distribution of geographic distribution of amenities (such as warm weather) and housing costs and (2) greater institutional rigidities in subsidized British rental housing providing stronger incentives for British renters not to move. This relatively flat British housing consumption with age may have significant implications for the form and amount of consumption smoothing at older ages.

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This paper series was made possible by the NIA funded RAND Center for the Study of Aging and the NICHD funded RAND Population Research Center.

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