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Housing prices and the high Chinese saving rate puzzle

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  • Xin Wang
  • Yi Wen

Abstract

China?s over 25% aggregate household saving rate is one of the highest in the world. One popular view attributes the high saving rate to fast-rising housing prices in China. However, cross-sectional data do not show a significant relationship between housing prices and household saving rates. This article uses a simple consumption-saving model to explain why rising housing prices per se cannot explain China?s high household saving rate. Although borrowing constraints and demographic changes can translate housing prices to the aggregate saving rate, quantitative simulations of our model using Chinese time-series data on household income, housing prices, and demographics indicate that rising mortgage costs can increase the aggregate saving rate by at most 2 to 4 percentage points in the best down-payment structure.

Suggested Citation

  • Xin Wang & Yi Wen, 2012. "Housing prices and the high Chinese saving rate puzzle," Working Papers 2012-038, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2012-038
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Dotsey & Wenli Li & Fang Yang, 2019. "Demographic Aging, Industrial Policy, and Chinese Economic Growth," Working Papers 19-21, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    2. Ya Gao & Xiuting Li & Jichang Dong, 2019. "Does Housing Policy Sustainability Matter? Evidence from China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(17), pages 1-17, August.
    3. Kaiji Chen & Yi Wen, 2017. "The Great Housing Boom of China," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 73-114, April.
    4. Horag Choi & Steven Lugauer & Nelson C. Mark, 2017. "Precautionary Saving of Chinese and U.S. Households," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 49(4), pages 635-661, June.
    5. Christian Dreger & Tongsan Wang & Yanqun Zhang, 2015. "Understanding Chinese Consumption: The Impact of Hukou," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 46(6), pages 1331-1344, November.
    6. Chen, Xiaofen, 2018. "Why do migrant households consume so little?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 197-209.
    7. Huang, Daisy J. & Leung, Charles K. & Qu, Baozhi, 2015. "Do bank loans and local amenities explain Chinese urban house prices?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 19-38.
    8. Song, Zhongchen & Coupé, Tom & Reed, W. Robert, 2021. "Estimating the effect of the one-child policy on Chinese household savings - Evidence from an Oaxaca decomposition," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).
    9. Raül Santaeulàlia-Llopis & Yu Zheng, 2018. "The Price of Growth: Consumption Insurance in China 1989–2009," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 1-35, October.
    10. Michael Dotsey, 2019. "Demographic Aging, Industrial Policy, and Chinese Economic Growth," 2019 Meeting Papers 640, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. Danilo Liberati & Valerio Vacca, 2016. "With (more than) a little help from my bank. Loan-to-value ratios and access to mortgages in Italy," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 315, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    12. Zhong Chu & Zhengwei Wang & Jing Jian Xiao & Weiqiang Zhang, 2017. "Financial Literacy, Portfolio Choice and Financial Well-Being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 132(2), pages 799-820, June.
    13. Chang, Xiao & An, Tongliang & Tam, Pui Sun & Gu, Xinhua, 2020. "National savings rate and sectoral income distribution: An empirical look at China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).
    14. Li, Logan, 2021. "Political violence and household savings: Evidence from the long-term effects of the Cultural Revolution," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 19(C).
    15. Bussière, Matthieu & Kalantzis, Yannick & Lafarguette, Romain & Sicular, Terry, 2013. "Understanding household savings in China: the role of the housing market and borrowing constraints," MPRA Paper 44611, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Yuan, Cheng & He, Xilong & Kim, Yoonsu, 2017. "Home ownership, housing price and social security expenditure," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 290-305.
    17. Zhu, Guozhong & Dale-Johnson, David, 2020. "Transition to the property tax in China: A dynamic general equilibrium analysis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C).
    18. Shu-hen Chiang, 2014. "Housing Markets in China and Policy Implications: Comovement or Ripple Effect," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 22(6), pages 103-120, November.
    19. Shi Li & John Whalley & Xiliang Zhao, 2013. "Housing price and household savings rates: evidence from China," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(3), pages 197-217, August.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic conditions - China; Housing - China; Saving and investment - China;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand

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