The Spatial Distribution of Housing-Related Tax Benefits in the United States

This paper finds that the tax benefits associated with owning one’s own home are not only skewed towards owners with high incomes and high house prices. They are also skewed spatially, with a few areas receiving large benefits and most areas receiving small ones. This paper examines the distribution of homeownership tax benefits between states, across metropolitan areas, and within metropolitan areas. It finds, for example, that 10 percent of the country’s homeowners live in California, but the state captures 25 percent of the homeownership benefit flow. At the metropolitan level, homeowners in just New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco receive a disproportionate share of homeownership benefits.