Supersedes Working Paper 11-15 - Home Equity Withdrawal in Retirement 

We investigate empirically and theoretically the life-cycle patterns of homeownership, housing and nonhousing assets in retirement. Using an estimated structural model of saving and housing decisions, we find, first, that homeowners dissave slowly because they prefer to stay in their house as long as possible but cannot easily borrow against it. Second, the 1996–2006 housing boom significantly increased homeowners' assets. These channels are quantitatively significant; without considering homeownership, retirees' net worth would be 28–44 percent lower, depending on age.