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House Prices and Inflation in the Euro Area

Listed author(s):
  • Boris Cournède

The inflation measure used by the European Central Bank excludes housing costs that are borne by home owners even though they make up more than a tenth of household final consumption expenditure in the euro area. Has the exclusion of owner-occupied housing costs driven a wedge between the official harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP) and the cost of living? To answer this question, a measure of the user cost of housing capital has been constructed for every euro area country (except Luxembourg). User costs are measured taking into account property taxes but net of tax breaks that home owners enjoy on mortgage repayments. The user cost measure is combined with the HICP to derive a “broad” inflation estimate. For the sake of comparison, an alternative estimate has been put together using imputed rents. The main conclusion is that owner-occupied housing costs have an impact. Another important conclusion is that the effect of owner-occupied housing costs on inflation varies noticeably with the method used to incorporate them into the price index. The paper finally discusses the choice of the method from the point of view of economic policy makers. "This Working Paper relates to the 2005 OECD Economic Survey of Euro Area (" Prix des logements et inflation dans la zone euro Bien qu’ils représentent plus de dix pour cent de la consommation finale des ménages dans la zone euro, les coûts de logement qui sont supportés par les propriétaires occupants ne sont pas inclus dans l’indicateur d’inflation employé par la Banque centrale européenne. L’exclusion de ces coûts a-t-elle enfoncé un coin entre l’indice des prix à la consommation harmonisé (IPCH) et le coût de la vie ? Pour répondre à cette question, une mesure du coût d’usage du capital a été construite pour les logements occupés pour chacun des pays appartenant à la zone euro (à l’exception du Luxembourg). Il s’agit d’une mesure du coût net d’impôts et de taxes, qui tient compte à la fois des taxes foncières et des allégements d’impôt dont bénéficient les propriétaires occupants. Cette mesure est ensuite adjointe à l’IPCH pour obtenir une évaluation de l’inflation « élargie ». Pour les besoins de la comparaison, une autre estimation a été effectuée en utilisant des loyers imputés. La principale conclusion est que les coûts du logement pour les propriétaires occupants font une différence. Une autre conclusion importante est que l’impact de ces coûts dépend sensiblement de la méthode qui est employée pour les intégrer à l’indice de prix. En conclusion, l'étude examine la question du choix de la méthode du point de vue des opérateurs de la politique économique. "Ce Document de travail se rapporte à l'Étude économique de l'OCDE de Euro area, 2005. ("

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 450.

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Date of creation: 12 Oct 2005
Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:450-en
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