A new study found that an increase in house value is directly related to an increase in household debt among property owners.

The University of Sydney used a Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) data set from 2001 to 2012 to study the relationship among house prices, household debt and the labour market.

The study found that the relationship between home value and household debt “(exposes) homeowners to economic shocks.”

Further, Australian households were found to be “taking on extra debt in response to rising house prices.” Additionally, young partnered men and women spent less time working in response to housing wealth to pursue leisure activities. Meanwhile, older, single women used the additional wealth from housing to retire early.

“The take-up of extra mortgage debt among highly-leveraged households exposes them to the risk of significant loss if prices fall or if interest rates rise. This, in turn, poses a systemic risk for the macro-economy,” co-author Dr Kadir Atalay said. “An economic shock may lead to widespread faults that would cause the shock to spread across markets and threaten the performance of Australia’s economy.”

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