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Why Do the Swiss Rent?

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  • Steven Bourassa

    ()

  • Martin Hoesli

    ()

Abstract

At 34%, Switzerland has the lowest home ownership rate in Western Europe. This is a puzzle given the economic strength of the country. We use 1998 household survey data for five Swiss cantons to explore some possible reasons for this. We estimate a tenure choice equation that allows us to analyze the impacts of a number of key variables on the ownership rate. We pay particular attention to the relative cost of owning and renting, which is a function of house prices, rents, and the user cost of owning. The latter is a function of income tax policy and expected house price inflation, among other things. We also measure mortgage underwriting criteria and consider rent control and other policies affecting rental housing. By simulating a number of hypothetical changes to taxation and other policies, underwriting criteria, and price levels, we assess the importance of these variables in explaining the ownership rate. We conclude that high house prices—relative to rents and to household incomes and wealth—are by far the most important cause of Switzerland’s low ownership rate.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11146-008-9140-4
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics.

Volume (Year): 40 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (April)
Pages: 286-309

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jrefec:v:40:y:2010:i:3:p:286-309

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102945

Related research

Keywords: Home ownership; House prices; Tax policy; Switzerland;

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References

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  1. Donald R. Haurin & Patric H. Hendershott & Susan M. Wachter, 1996. "Borrowing Constraints and the Tenure Choice of Young Households," NBER Working Papers 5630, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Maria Concetta Chiuri & Tullio Jappelli, 2000. "Financial Market Imperfections and Home Ownership: A Comparative Study," CSEF Working Papers 44, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 01 Dec 2000.
  3. Patric H. Hendershott & Joel Slemrod, 1982. "Taxes and the User Cost of Capital for Owner-Occupied Housing," NBER Working Papers 0929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Green, Richard K. & Vandell, Kerry D., 1999. "Giving households credit: How changes in the U.S. tax code could promote homeownership," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 419-444, July.
  5. Peter Linneman & Susan Wachter, 1989. "The Impacts of Borrowing Constraints on Homeownership," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 17(4), pages 389-402.
  6. Goodman, Allen C., 1990. "Demographics of individual housing demand," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 83-102, June.
  7. Linneman, Peter, 1985. "An economic analysis of the homeownership decision," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 230-246, March.
  8. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2003. "The impact of building restrictions on housing affordability," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jun, pages 21-39.
  9. Philippe Thalmann, 1999. "Which is the appropriate administrative level to promote home ownership?," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 135(I), pages 3-20, March.
  10. Steven C. Bourassa & Ming Yin, 2006. "Housing Tenure Choice in Australia and the United States: Impacts of Alternative Subsidy Policies," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 34(2), pages 303-328, 06.
  11. Philippe Thalmann, 1987. "Explication empirique des loyers lausannois," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 123(I), pages 47-70, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Costello, Greg & Fraser, Patricia & Groenewold, Nicolaas, 2011. "House prices, non-fundamental components and interstate spillovers: The Australian experience," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 653-669, March.
  2. R. Bottazzi & T. Crossley & M. Wakefield, 2011. "House Prices and Home Ownership: a Cohort Analysis," Working Papers wp790, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  3. Nicole Aregger & Martin Brown & Enzo Rossi, 2013. "Transaction Taxes, Capital Gains Taxes and House Prices," Working Papers 2013-02, Swiss National Bank.
  4. Karol Jan BOROWIECKI, 2011. "Dynamics of a Protected Housing Market: The Case of Switzerland," Trinity Economics Papers tep1011, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2011.
  5. Michael Berlemann & Julia Freese, 2013. "Monetary policy and real estate prices: a disaggregated analysis for Switzerland," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 469-490, December.
  6. Bourassa, Steven & Hoesli, Martin & Scognamiglio, Donato, 2010. "Housing finance, prices, and tenure in Switzerland," MPRA Paper 45990, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Karol Jan Borowiecki, 2009. "The Determinants of House Prices and Construction: An Empirical Investigation of the Swiss Housing Economy," International Real Estate Review, Asian Real Estate Society, vol. 12(3), pages 193-220.
  8. Renata Bottazzi & Thomas Crossley & Matthew Wakefield, 2012. "Late starters or excluded generations? A cohort analysis of catch up in homeownership in England," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1215, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.

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