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Previous research has found that moving has lasting effects on housing satisfaction while adaptation to changing living environments is surprisingly absent from this research. This paper challenges and extends this current state of research. Using data from a large-scale German household panel we find that housing satisfaction (a) sharply declines before the move (self-selection into relocation), (b) substantially increases after moving (relocation effect), (c) declines in the following years (adaptation), (d) after about 2 years reaches satisfaction levels similar to the levels several years before the move (full adaptation), (e) but due to selection into moving stays above satisfaction levels in the years directly before the move (lasting gains due to self-selection). Further analyses indicate that moving due to house-related reasons leads to partly lasting gains, while moving due to significant life events only has temporary effects. Finally, we show that permanent changes in housing satisfaction due to house-related relocations can be fully explained using self-assessed comparisons between old and new living environment.
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