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Making the House a Home: The Stimulative Effect of Home Purchases on Consumption and Investment


  • Efraim Benmelech
  • Adam Guren
  • Brian T. Melzer


We introduce and quantify a new channel through which the housing market affects household spending: the home purchase channel. Using an event-study design with data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey, we show that households spend on average $3,700 more in the months before and the first year following a home purchase. This spending is concentrated in the home-related durables and home improvements sectors, which are complementary to the purchase of the house. Expenditures on nondurables and durables unrelated to the home remain unchanged or decrease modestly. We estimate that the home purchase channel played a substantial role in the Great Recession, accounting for one-third of the decline in home-related durables spending and a fifth of the decline in home maintenance and investment spending from 2005 to 2010, together totaling $14.3 billion annually.

Suggested Citation

  • Efraim Benmelech & Adam Guren & Brian T. Melzer, 2017. "Making the House a Home: The Stimulative Effect of Home Purchases on Consumption and Investment," NBER Working Papers 23570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23570
    Note: AP CF EFG ME

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    Cited by:

    1. Feng Deng, 2019. "The sharing economy and urban property rights," Asia-Pacific Journal of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 121-136, February.
    2. Zekai He & Jingjing Ye & Xiuzhen Shi, 2020. "Housing wealth and household consumption in urban China," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 57(8), pages 1714-1732, June.
    3. Sjoerd Van Bekkum & Marc Gabarro & Rustom M. Irani & José-Luis Peydró, 2019. "Take It to the limit? The effects of household leverage caps," Economics Working Papers 1682, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Dec 2019.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R2 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand

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