Unlocking the links between home ownership and mobility
The links between owning a home and being able to move for a job are the subject of plenty of studies by economists. In the 1990s, for example, Andrew Oswald at the University of Warwick found higher rates of home ownership across Europe were associated higher unemployment. It may be that homeowners are reluctant or unable to move for a job. In 2004, a study of homeownership in the Netherlands by the Utrecht School of Economics reviewed research and found several reached similar conclusions to the Oswald study. But it said the situation was more complex and researchers believed buying a home could actually be a sign of commitment to working in a particular job.
A new US example
With the unemployment rate rising in the global financial crisis, economists have again looked at the link between mobility and joblessness. A chart on The Economist's Free Exchange blog looks at the change in "mobility rate" of homeowners and of renters. It concludes owning a home might be "a nice, big barrier between people and better job opportunities".
Consider the options
Owning a home does seem to tie workers down but that has pros as well as cons. When buying, it might pay to consider how secure your job will be over several years. It is a good idea to think about whether the location has good transport links, increasing the area in which you could reasonably travel to should you need to change jobs.