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Finance and Economics Discussion Series
Finance and Economics Discussion Series logo links to FEDS home page Housing, Consumption, and Credit Constraints
Andreas Lehnert

Abstract: I test the credit-market effects of housing wealth shocks by estimating the consumption elasticity of house price shocks among households in different age quintiles. Younger households face faster expected income growth and hence would like to borrow more than older households. I estimate consumption elasticities from housing wealth by age quintile to be {4; 0; 3; 8; 3} percent. As predicted by theory, the youngest group has a higher elasticity of consumption than the next two age quintiles. That the consumption of the age quintile on the verge of retirement is responsive to housing wealth is also not surprising: I show that these households are likeliest to "downsize" their house and thus realize any capital gains.

Keywords: Consumption, wealth effect, housing, house prices

Full paper (236 KB PDF)

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Last update: October 29, 2004