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The housing wealth effect on consumption reconsidered

  • Lindner, Fabian

Much of the literature on the effect of housing wealth on consumption has been embedded in a simple life-cycle model in which housing price changes work as a wealth effect. In such models, windfall gains in housing always lead to positive changes in consumption. However, this might constitute a fallacy of composition. Such models ignore that changes in housing wealth have distributional consequences between those planning to sell their house and those planning to buy a house. Further, since most housing is not simply financed out of current cash holdings but by mortgages, the institutions on mortgage markets have to be considered when looking at the wealth effect of housing. In this paper, a model is presented from which the classic Ando-Modigliani consumption function augmented by housing wealth can be deduced. It is shown that the deeper structural model from which this equation is deduced implies that changes in housing wealth are not necessarily positively correlated with consumption. It will be argued that changes both in demographics (the composition of the age groups in the population) as well as in mortgage markets have led to a structural break in the effect of housing wealth on consumption in the mid-1980s in the US. In the empirical part of the paper, two VAR models are estimated and impulse-response functions are computed. The results show that housing wealth changes did affect consumption differently before the mid-1980s and afterward. While both models show that consumption was positively related to housing wealth shocks after the mid-1980s, there was no or even a negative relation before.

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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Economics Discussion Papers with number 2014-15.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwedp:201415
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  1. Vladimir Klyuev & Paul Mills, 2007. "Is Housing Wealth an “ATM”? The Relationship Between Household Wealth, Home Equity Withdrawal, and Saving Rates," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 54(3), pages 539-561, July.
  2. Palumbo, Michael & Rudd, Jeremy & Whelan, Karl, 2006. "On the Relationships Between Real Consumption, Income, and Wealth," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 24, pages 1-11, January.
  3. Brueckner, Jan K. & Pereira, Alfredo M., 1994. "Housing Ownership and the Business Cycle," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 165-185, September.
  4. Patrick Bajari & C. Lanier Benkard & John Krainer, 2003. "House Prices and Consumer Welfare," NBER Working Papers 9783, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Michaelides, Alexander & Nikolov, Kalin, 2010. "Winners and Losers in Housing Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 7953, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Iacoviello, Matteo, 2004. "Consumption, house prices, and collateral constraints: a structural econometric analysis," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 304-320, December.
  9. Gali, Jordi, 1990. "Finite horizons, life-cycle savings, and time-series evidence on consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 433-452, December.
  10. Orazio Attanasio & Laura Blow & Robert Hamilton & Andrew Leicester, 2005. "Booms and busts: consumption, house prices and expectations," IFS Working Papers W05/24, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  11. N. Kundan Kishor, 2007. "Does Consumption Respond More to Housing Wealth Than to Financial Market Wealth? If So, Why?," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 35(4), pages 427-448, November.
  12. Lettau, Martin & Ludvigson, Sydney, 1999. "Consumption, Aggregate Wealth and Expected Stock Returns," CEPR Discussion Papers 2223, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Wenli Li & Rui Yao, 2007. "The Life-Cycle Effects of House Price Changes," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(6), pages 1375-1409, 09.
  14. Campbell, John Y & Mankiw, N Gregory, 1990. "Permanent Income, Current Income, and Consumption," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 8(3), pages 265-79, July.
  15. Orazio Attanasio & Andrew Leicester & Matthew Wakefield, 2011. "Do House Prices Drive Consumption Growth? The Coincident Cycles Of House Prices And Consumption In The Uk," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 399-435, 06.
  16. Hurst, Erik & Stafford, Frank, 2004. "Home Is Where the Equity Is: Mortgage Refinancing and Household Consumption," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(6), pages 985-1014, December.
  17. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1995. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-02, McMaster University.
  18. Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1982. "Hall's consumption hypothesis and durable goods," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 417-425.
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