We study the responses to several questions related to real estate that were added to the Michigan Survey of Consumers in July and August of 2011. Specifically, we asked about attitudes toward renting versus buying a home; about commuting; and about how much to spend on a mortgage. By matching the results to data about relative house price declines during the recent crisis (at the ZIP-code level), we can study the relationship between the housing crash and individual attitudes. We find that younger respondents are relatively less confident about homeownership after larger declines, while older respondents are relatively more confident. In both cases, this is observed only for those with personal experience of loss (via themselves or someone close) during the crash. We find no effect on attitudes toward commuting, and we find that people who live in the high-decline areas believe it is appropriate to spend more on a mortgage.
© 2012 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co.