Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

SIFR Research Report Series,
Institute for Financial Research

No 44: Life-Cycle Housing and Portfolio Choice with Bond Markets

Otto van Hemert ()
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Otto van Hemert: NYU Stern

Abstract: I study optimal housing and portfolio choice under stochastic inflation and real interest rates. Renters allocate financial wealth to stocks and bonds with different maturities. Homeowners also choose the mortgage type. I show that hedge demands and financial constraints vary over an investor's lifetime, giving rise to a pronounced life-cycle pattern in the optimal housing, stock, bond, and mortgage choice. Young homeowners take an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) and invest financial wealth predominantly in stocks. Later in the life cycle bonds play an important role, mainly as a hedge against changing real interest rates and house prices. Fairly risk-tolerant homeowners still prefer an ARM, while more risk-averse investors rather choose a combination of an ARM and a fixed-rate mortgage.

Keywords: Portfolio choice; mortgage; housing; term structure of interest rates

JEL-codes: E43; G11

25 pages, September 15, 2006

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