Interesting comment found by Glenn Reynolds. From Jeffrey Levin:
If you dig around and research start-ups you will find that the majority of start-ups are funded by second mortgages or HELOC draws. Due to the housing crash, that equity is just not there for the vast majority of people looking to start up a new business. Its one of the large reasons why commercial credit expansion has been so moribund. Without getting off the ground from seconds or HELOC’s all those startups that would have made it past year 1 and then been able to obtain standard commercial business loan never got off the ground and thus never graduated to commercial loan financing. You have to walk first before you can run. Startups don’t start in the commercial loan department (at least most of them don’t).
Recalculation means discovering new patterns of sustainable specialization and trade. Doing so requires entrepreneurial trial and error. As Levin points out, the stereotypical 20-year-old in a garage is actually atypical. Most entrepreneurs are like I was, forty years old and risking accumulated wealth. If my wealth had suddenly been halved in 1993, I doubt that I would have started a business in 1994.
And whose wealth got crushed by the housing crash? According to a paper by Edward Wolff, as cited in the WSJ blog:
The big drop in home prices between 2007 and 2010 meant a 59% loss in home equity for people under 35, compared with just 26% for people generally. That meant a massive loss of wealth, or “net worth” — what people own minus what they owe. People ages 35-44 saw a 49% fall in home equity.
Thanks to Mark Thoma for the pointer.