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Measuring the Price of Housing Consumption for Owners in the CPI

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Abstract

Measuring change in the price of housing is an important and notoriously difficult task for national statistical agencies. Different approaches have been attempted, but suffer from known weaknesses. This article suggests dividing housing outlays into consumption and saving. The changes in prices of the consumption component are governed primarily by the purchasing price and the interest rate, and lead us to the construction of a consumption cost index. We show that over the lifespan of the mortgage, under some general assumptions, the price changes most relevant for inflation measurement can be obtained from a housing price index. The main challenge lies in computing weights for the housing consumption index. We demonstrate how this can be done in practice. An empirical example using data from Norway shows that over the 12-month period from June 2003 to June 2004 the official inflation was measured at 1.3%. This did not properly account for a 10.2% increase in house prices. The methodology proposed in this paper estimates the 12-month inflation at 3.4%.

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  • Timothy K.M. Beatty & Erling Røed Larsen & Dag Einar Sommervoll, 2005. "Measuring the Price of Housing Consumption for Owners in the CPI," Discussion Papers 427, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:427
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    File URL: https://www.ssb.no/a/publikasjoner/pdf/DP/dp427.pdf
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    1. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2003. "What Measure of Inflation Should a Central Bank Target?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1058-1086, September.
    2. Timothy Beatty & Erling Røed Larsen, 2005. "Using Engel curves to estimate bias in the Canadian CPI as a cost of living index," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(2), pages 482-499, May.
    3. Lars E.O. Svensson, 2003. "Escaping from a Liquidity Trap and Deflation: The Foolproof Way and Others," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 145-166, Fall.
    4. Katharine G. Abraham & John S. Greenlees & Brent R. Moulton, 1998. "Working to Improve the Consumer Price Index," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 27-36, Winter.
    5. Robert A. Pollak, 1998. "The Consumer Price Index: A Research Agenda and Three Proposals," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 69-78, Winter.
    6. Erling Røed Larsen, 2004. "Does the CPI Mirror Costs-of-Living? Engel's Law Suggests Not in Norway," Discussion Papers 368, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    7. W. Erwin Diewert, 1998. "Index Number Issues in the Consumer Price Index," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 47-58, Winter.
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    Cited by:

    1. Beatty, Timothy K.M. & Larsen, Erling Røed & Sommervoll, Dag Einar, 2010. "Using house prices to compute the price of housing in the CPI," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 106(3), pages 238-240, March.
    2. Erling Røed Larsen & Dag Einar Sommervoll, 2006. "The Impact on Rent from Tenant and Landlord Characteristics and Interaction," Discussion Papers 467, Statistics Norway, Research Department.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    asset price inflation; consumer price index; consumption cost; housing prices; inflation measurement; mortgage; rental equivalence; user cost;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit

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