Via Mankiw again, I have learned something I never before considered. Home ownership, by reducing geographic mobility, greatly increases unemployment. Of course! On the other hand, it is important to remember that owning a home gives strong incentive to improving it, while renting has almost no such incentives. Given the overwhelming amount of wealth tied up in real estate and the externalities of neighbourhood effects, the unemployment factor cannot be taken at face value to completely demonise home ownership subsidies.