Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Reconciling User Costs and Rental Equivalence: Evidence from the U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey

Contents:

Author Info

  • Randal Verbrugge

    ()
    (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

  • Thesia I. Garner

    ()
    (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Abstract

Previous research (Verbrugge, 2008a) demonstrated that housing rents and ex ante user costs diverge markedly for extended periods of time, a finding with profound implications for income and inflation measurement. But the primary data sources in that study were various indexes, based upon largely disjoint data sources, constructed using different aggregation techniques, and each subject to various criticisms. This raised doubts about the quality of the comparison. The relationship between user costs and rents might well be much tighter at the micro level; after all, house prices and rents (and their growth rates) can vary dramatically within cities, and rents are notoriously sticky. Furthermore, the use of indexes precludes both cross-sectional and dollar cost comparisons. In this study, we use Consumer Expenditure Interview Survey (CE) data to examine the relationship between user costs and rents at the individual unit level, in dollars, using unit-level information on house value, rent, taxes, and the like. This allows us to accurately estimate unit-specific user costs and to control for unobservables like structure and neighborhood quality. We also make the point that in theory, after-tax user costs should equal net rent, i.e., expected rental income, rather than gross rent. Our findings are striking. In keeping with most previous research, we find tremendous divergence between conventional measures of user costs and net rents, thus ruling out index construction errors as a possible explanation. This divergence does not result from a faulty rent measure: we find that reported rents are sensible, in that they move similarly to official rent indexes, and are not simply out-of-pocket expenses. Instead, and most perplexing, we find a surprisingly close correspondence between net rents and a particular estimate of user costs, one implicitly assuming zero transactions costs and constructed using an appreciation measure that is both theoretically suspect and empirically a poor predictor of actual appreciation.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.bls.gov/ore/pdf/ec090050.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in its series Working Papers with number 427.

as in new window
Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bls:wpaper:ec090050

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 2 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E. Room 2860, Washington, D. C. 20212
Phone: (202) 606-5900
Fax: (202) 606-7890
Email:
Web page: http://www.bls.gov
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: user costs; house price appreciation; forecasting; rental equivalence;

Other versions of this item:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller, 1988. "The Efficiency of the Market for Single-Family Homes," NBER Working Papers 2506, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Richard K. Green & Amy Crews Cutts & Yan Chang, 2005. "Did Changing Rents Explain Changing House Prices During the 1990s?," Working Papers 0005, School of Business, The George Washington University.
  3. Frick, Joachim R. & Grabka, Markus M. & Smeeding, Timothy M. & Tsakloglou, Panos, 2010. "Distributional effects of imputed rents in five European countries," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 167-179, September.
  4. J. Christina Wang & Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald, 2009. "A General-Equilibrium Asset-Pricing Approach to the Measurement of Nominal and Real Bank Output," NBER Chapters, in: Price Index Concepts and Measurement, pages 273-320 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Granger, Clive W. J. & Jeon, Yongil, 2004. "Thick modeling," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 323-343, March.
  6. Poterba, James M, 1992. "Taxation and Housing: Old Questions, New Answers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 237-42, May.
  7. Gillingham, Robert, 1983. "Measuring the Cost of Shelter for Homeowners: Theoretical and Empirical Considerations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(2), pages 254-65, May.
  8. Angus Deaton & Alan Heston, 2008. "Understanding PPPs and PPP-based national accounts," Working Papers 1120, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  9. Heston, Alan & Nakamura, Alice O., 2009. "Questions about the equivalence of market rents and user costs for owner occupied housing," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 273-279, September.
  10. Mark W. Watson & James H. Stock, 2004. "Combination forecasts of output growth in a seven-country data set," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(6), pages 405-430.
  11. Charles Himmelberg & Christopher Mayer & Todd Sinai, 2005. "Assessing High House Prices: Bubbles, Fundamentals, and Misperceptions," NBER Working Papers 11643, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Todd Sinai & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2005. "Owner-occupied housing as a hedge against rent risk," Working Papers 05-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  13. Jonathan McCarthy & Richard W. Peach, 2004. "Are home prices the next "bubble"?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Dec, pages 1-17.
  14. Case, Bradford & Pollakowski, Henry O & Wachter, Susan M, 1997. "Frequency of Transaction and House Price Modeling," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1-2), pages 173-87, Jan.-Marc.
  15. Schreyer, Paul, 2009. "User costs and bubbles in land markets," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 267-272, September.
  16. Bruce, Donald & Santore, Rudy, 2006. "On optimal real estate commissions," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 156-166, June.
  17. Antonia Diaz & Maria Jose Luengo Prado, 2008. "On the User Cost and Homeownership," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(3), pages 584-613, July.
  18. Robert Poole & Randal Verbrugge, 2007. "Explaining the Rent-OER Inflation Divergence, 1999-2006," Working Papers 410, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  19. Hwang, Min & Quigley, John M., 2010. "Housing Price Dynamics in Time and Space: Predictability, Liquidity and Investor Returns," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt41k6c76w, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
  20. Goodman, Allen C. & Thibodeau, Thomas G., 2008. "Where are the speculative bubbles in US housing markets?," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 117-137, June.
  21. Blackley, Dixie M. & Follain, James R., 1996. "In search of empirical evidence that links rent and user cost," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3-4), pages 409-431, June.
  22. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller, 2003. "Is There a Bubble in the Housing Market?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(2), pages 299-362.
  23. Follain James R. & Leavens Donald R. & Velz Orawin T., 1993. "Identifying the Effects of Tax Reform on Multifamily Rental Housing," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 275-298, September.
  24. Donald R. Haurin & Patric H. Hendershott & Dongwook Kim, 1991. "Local House Price Indexes: 1982-1991," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 19(3), pages 451-472.
  25. Brian Petereson, 2009. "Fooled by Search: Housing Prices, Turnover and Bubbles," Caepr Working Papers 2009-004, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  26. Gatzlaff, Dean H & Haurin, Donald R, 1997. "Sample Selection Bias and Repeat-Sales Index Estimates," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1-2), pages 33-50, Jan.-Marc.
  27. Theodore M. Crone & Leonard I. Nakamura & Richard Voith, 2010. "Rents Have Been Rising, Not Falling, in the Postwar Period," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 628-642, August.
  28. Garner, Thesia I. & Short, Kathleen, 2009. "Accounting for owner-occupied dwelling services: Aggregates and distributions," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 233-248, September.
  29. W. Erwin Diewert & Alice O. Nakamura, 2009. "Accounting for housing in a CPI," Working Papers 09-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  30. Laura Blow & Lars Nesheim, 2009. "A retail price index including the shadow price of owner occupied housing," CeMMAP working papers CWP03/09, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  31. Edward C. Prescott, 1997. "On defining real consumption," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 47-53.
  32. Ayuso, Juan & Restoy, Fernando, 2007. "House prices and rents in Spain: Does the discount factor matter?," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 291-308, November.
  33. Quigley, John M., 2002. "Transactions Costs and Housing Markets," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt6pz8p6zt, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
  34. Peter Chinloy, 1991. "Risk and the User Cost of Housing Services," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 19(4), pages 516-531.
  35. Michelle H. Dreiman & Anthony Pennington-Cross, 2004. "Alternative Methods of Increasing the Precision of Weighted Repeat Sales House Prices Indices," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 299-317, 05.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Sommer, Kamila & Sullivan, Paul & Verbrugge, Randal, 2013. "The equilibrium effect of fundamentals on house prices and rents," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(7), pages 854-870.
  2. Bettina Aten & Marshall Reinsdorf, 2010. "Comparing the Consistency of Price Parities for Regions of the U.S. in an Economic Approach Framework," BEA Papers 0098, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  3. Philippe Bracke, 2013. "House prices and rents: micro evidence from a matched dataset in Central London," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 49723, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Philippe Bracke, 2013. "House Prices and Rents: Micro Evidence from a Matched Dataset in Central London_x0003_," ERSA conference papers ersa13p112, European Regional Science Association.
  5. Winters, John V., 2012. "Differences in Quality of Life Estimates Using Rents and Home Values," IZA Discussion Papers 6703, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Diewert, W. Erwin & Nakamura, Alice O. & Nakamura, Leonard I., 2009. "The housing bubble and a new approach to accounting for housing in a CPI," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 156-171, September.
  7. Frick, Joachim R. & Grabka, Markus M. & Smeeding, Timothy M. & Tsakloglou, Panos, 2010. "Distributional Effects of Imputed Rents in Five European Countries," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 167-179.
  8. Martin Beznoska & Richard Ochmann, 2013. "The interest elasticity of household savings: a structural approach with German micro data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 371-399, August.
  9. Schreyer, Paul, 2009. "User costs and bubbles in land markets," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 267-272, September.
  10. Erwin Diewert, 2010. "Understanding PPPs and PPP-Based National Accounts: Comment," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 36-45, October.
  11. Garner, Thesia I. & Short, Kathleen, 2009. "Accounting for owner-occupied dwelling services: Aggregates and distributions," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 233-248, September.
  12. Garrido-Yserte, Rubén & Mañas-Alcón, Elena & Gallo-Rivera, Maria Teresa, 2012. "Housing and cost of living: Application to the Spanish regions," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 246-255.
  13. Martin Beznoska & Richard Ochmann, 2012. "Liquidity Constraints and the Permanent Income Hypothesis: Pseudo Panel Estimation with German Consumption Survey Data," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1231, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bls:wpaper:ec090050. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gregory Kurtzon).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.