“It is now well established that the U.S. housing market crisis preceded the labor market crisis and that, in the wake of these crises, doubling up and cohabitation increased and homeownership fell. What is less clear, however, is what happened at the subnational level. This article reports on (1) how the length, severity, and relative timing of both the housing and labor market crises varied by metropolitan statistical area (MSA), and (2) the association between the timing of these crises and changes in homeownership and doubling up at the MSA level. The analysis uses data on 353 MSAs, with a focus on 12 MSAs, for the period from 2005 (precrisis) to 2011. MSAs are categorized into those where the housing market declined first, those where the labor market declined first, and those where the events were concurrent. The analysis reveals that (1) in the majority of MSAs, the labor market declined first, contrary to the national pattern and the experience of the vast majority of large MSAs; (2) there is a clear relationship between greater regional housing distress and falling homeownership rates; and (3) somewhat surprisingly, the association between changes in doubling up and these crises is fairly weak at the MSA level.”
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