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Assets of Cyprus Households: Lessons from the first Cyprus Survey of Consumer Finances


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  • Michael Haliassos
  • Christis Hassapis
  • Alex Karagrigoriou
  • George Kyriacou
  • George Syrichas
  • Michalis C. Michael


This paper describes participation of Cyprus households in financial and real assets using new data from the 1999 Cyprus Survey of Consumer Finances, and compares Cyprus to the United States and four major European countries. Almost 9 out of 10 Cyprus households own some financial asset. After checking accounts, the most popular financial asset is government savings bonds. One in two households participated in stocks directly or indirectly in 1999, a year of stock market frenzy, reaching participation levels comparable only to the United States. Despite the absence of mutual funds, almost one third of households invest in managed portfolios linked to life insurance, and this exceeds direct stockholding even in 1999. Participation in direct stockholding is higher than in other countries, overall and for households below 50 years, and unusually high for the very young. Potential sources of concern include the limited number of stocks held by direct stockholders, and the presence of a significant contingent with limited background. Diversification across risk categories of financial assets is limited, but the majority of those holding few assets do not hold stocks directly. Those who do hold stocks directly are poorly diversified across different stocks. More than one in two households have some form of life insurance, but participation in individual retirement accounts is very low. Participation in risky assets, financial or real, far exceeds that in other countries. Yet, a strong contingent of households concentrates on risky real assets and abstains from risky financial assets, even during 1999. Rates of ownership of real assets are exceptionally high compared to the other countries. Homeownership rates far exceed those in the United States, and the majority of homeowners own their home fully. One quarter of Cyprus households own business equity, more than double the rate in the United States.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Cyprus Department of Economics in its series University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics with number 0205.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucy:cypeua:0205

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  1. Michael Haliassos and Alexander Michaelides, 2001. "Calibration and Computation of Household Portfolio Models," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 194, Society for Computational Economics.
  2. Luigi Guiso & Tullio Jappelli, 2000. "Household Portfolios in Italy," CSEF Working Papers 43, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  3. Luigi Guiso & Michael Haliassos & Tullio Jappelli, 2000. "Household Portfolios: An International Comparison," CSEF Working Papers 48, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  4. Carol Bertaut & Martha Starr-McCluer, 2000. "Household portfolios in the United States," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-26, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. João Cocco & Francisco Gomes & Pascal Maenhout, 1998. "Consumption and Portfolio Choice over the Life-Cycle," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces9805, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
  6. James Banks & Tanner, S, 2000. "Household portfolios in the UK," IFS Working Papers W00/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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Cited by:
  1. Michael Haliassos & Christis Hassapis & Alex Karagrigoriou & George Kyriacou & Michalis C. Michael & George Syrichas, 2003. "Debts of Cyprus Households: Lessons from the First Cyprus Survey of Consumer Finances," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 4-2003, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
  2. Georgia Antoniou & Christiana Argyridou & Michael Haliassos & Alex Karagrigoriou & George Kyriacou & Michalis C. Michael & Maria Papagheorgiou & George Syrichas, 2004. "Assets and Debts of Cyprus Households: Changes between the 1999 and 2002 Cyprus Surveys of Consumer Finances," Working Papers 0412, Central Bank of Cyprus.
  3. Michael Haliassos & Pany Karamanou & Constantinos Ktoris & George Syrichas, 2008. "Mortgage Debt, Social Customs,and Financial Innovation," Working Papers 2008-2, Central Bank of Cyprus.
  4. Andrew C. Worthington, 2009. "Household Asset Portfolio Diversification: Evidence from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey," Discussion Papers in Finance finance:200908, Griffith University, Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics.
  5. Mathias Sommer, 2005. "Trends in German households’ portfolio behavior - assessing the importance of age- and cohort-effects," MEA discussion paper series 05082, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  6. Alex Karagrigoriu & Ilia Vonta, 2006. "On Distributional Changes of Financial Characteristics in Cyprus: What Does the Survey of Consumer Finances Say?," Financial Theory and Practice, Institute of Public Finance, vol. 30(4), pages 380-403.


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