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Housing wealth or economic climate: Why do house prices matter for well-being?

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  • Anita Ratcliffe

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Abstract

This study investigates whether and why house prices matter for well-being. House prices may influence well-being via a wealth/access-to-credit mechanism, as a rise in prices increases housing wealth and the collateral value of a house, and via a relative concerns mechanism, if renters compare themselves to homeowners and vice versa. Alternatively, any correlation between house prices and well-being may simply reflect broader economic conditions rather than a causal effect. Using local area house price data, this study distinguishes between these alternative explanations by comparing the correlation between local house prices and well-being for homeowners and renters. A small positive correlation between house prices and well-being exists for both homeowners and renters, indicating the absence of a wealth/credit mechanism or relative concerns mechanism. This correlation cannot be explained by economic variables such as local unemployment, earnings or earnings expectations, hinting at a purely psychological phenomenon.

Suggested Citation

  • Anita Ratcliffe, 2010. "Housing wealth or economic climate: Why do house prices matter for well-being?," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 10/234, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:10/234
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    File URL: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/cmpo/publications/papers/2010/wp234.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Clément Bellet, 2017. "Essays on Inequality, Social Preferences and Consumer Behavior," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/vbu6kd1s68o, Sciences Po.
    2. Clement Bellet, 2017. "The Paradox of the Joneses: Superstar Houses and Mortgage Frenzy in Suburban America," CEP Discussion Papers dp1462, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. Bellet, Clement, 2017. "The paradox of the Joneses: superstar houses andmortgage frenzy in suburban America," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 69044, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Well-being; House prices; Wealth; Economic climate;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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