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How Do House Prices Affect Consumption? Evidence from Micro Data

  • John Campbell
  • Joao Cocco

Housing is a major component of wealth. Since house prices fluctuate considerably over time, it is important to understand how these fluctuations affect households’ consumption decisions. Rising house prices may stimulate consumption by increasing households’ perceived wealth, or by relaxing borrowing constraints. This paper investigates the response of household consumption to house prices using UK micro data. We estimate the largest effect of house prices on consumption for older homeowners, and the smallest effect, insignificantly different from zero, for younger renters. This finding is consistent with heterogeneity in the wealth effect across these groups. In addition, we find that regional house prices affect regional consumption growth. Predictable changes in house prices are correlated with predictable changes in consumption, particularly for households that are more likely to be borrowing constrained, but this effect is driven by national rather than regional house prices and is important for renters as well as homeowners, suggesting that UK house prices are correlated with aggregate financial market conditions.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2004 Meeting Papers with number 357a.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed004:357a
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
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