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How Does Mortgage Debt Affect Household Consumption? Micro Evidence from China

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  • Ying Fan
  • Abdullah Yavas

Abstract

The high growth rate of mortgage debt in various emerging and developed economies has captured headlines following the financial crisis. In this article, we investigate how mortgage debt impacts household consumption behavior and various components of household consumption. Utilizing comprehensive household survey data from China, we show that households with a mortgage consume a higher portion of income than households without a mortgage. This is in line with the argument that having a mortgage reduces the uncertainty that the household faces regarding how much to save each month in order to be able to own a house, and this reduced uncertainty leads to lower monthly savings for the purpose of buying a house. We also find that among households with a mortgage, those who spend a larger share of their income on mortgage payments spend less on consumption, reflecting the crowding out effect of mortgage payments on household consumption. Furthermore, we show that a government policy of decreasing the maximum loan‐to‐value ratio has a significant impact on households’ consumption. The article offers the first evidence of the impact of growing mortgage debt on the consumption behavior of households, and will have implications for government policies that encourage mortgage borrowing.

Suggested Citation

  • Ying Fan & Abdullah Yavas, 2020. "How Does Mortgage Debt Affect Household Consumption? Micro Evidence from China," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 48(1), pages 43-88, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reesec:v:48:y:2020:i:1:p:43-88
    DOI: 10.1111/1540-6229.12244
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    Cited by:

    1. Zan Yang & Ying Fan & Liqing Zhao, 2018. "A Reexamination of Housing Price and Household Consumption in China: The Dual Role of Housing Consumption and Housing Investment," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 56(3), pages 472-499, April.
    2. Svetlana Todorova & Dimitria Karadimova, 2020. "How Mortgage Interest Rates and Salaries Affect the Mortgage Debt," Izvestia Journal of the Union of Scientists - Varna. Economic Sciences Series, Union of Scientists - Varna, Economic Sciences Section, vol. 9(1), pages 63-70, April.
    3. Jie Chen & William Hardin & Mingzhi Hu, 2020. "Housing, Wealth, Income and Consumption: China and Homeownership Heterogeneity," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 48(2), pages 373-405, June.
    4. Chunil Kim & Hyobi Choi & Yeol Choi, 2021. "Retirement Age and Housing Consumption: The Case of South Korea," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(3), pages 1-21, January.
    5. Bing Zhu & Lingxiao Li & David H. Downs & Steffen Sebastian, 2019. "New Evidence on Housing Wealth and Consumption Channels," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 51-79, January.
    6. Agnieszka Strzelecka & Danuta Zawadzka, 2020. "Why Households Borrow Money? Socio-Economic Factors Affecting Households Debts: A Model Approach," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(Special 2), pages 820-839.
    7. Fan, Ying & Wu, Jing & Yang, Zan, 2017. "Informal borrowing and home purchase: Evidence from urban China," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 108-118.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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