Is owning your home good for your health? Evidence from exogenous variations in subsidies in England

Luke Munford, Eleonora Fichera, Matt Sutton

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paper


Little is known about the causal effects of home ownership on health. We exploit the ``Right to Buy'' policy in England as a source of exogenous variation in the ownership decision. The policy gave secure long-term tenants of publicly rented housing a discount in order to encourage them to buy their home. We assess the health and well-being impacts of this ownership decision by considering a macro and micro level analysis. In both analyses, home ownership is associated with higher levels of health and well-being. At the macro-level, local authorities with higher ownership rates had lower rates of people reporting having a longstanding health condition and also lower average counts of the number of health conditions reported by individuals. At the micro-level, becoming a homeowner reduced the number of self-reported health conditions by 0.65, increased self-assessed health by 0.19 points on a five-point scale, and increased General Health Questionnaire scores by 1.46 points on a 37-point scale. These results are robust to a number of assumptions. Further models suggest that the mechanisms through which home ownership affects health may operate via the labour markets with new job opportunities, extra time saved travelling and resources available for healthy leisure activities.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationUniversity of York
PublisherHealth Econometrics Data Group, University of York
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2017

Publication series

No.WP 17/28


  • Home ownership
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Right to Buy


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