August 2011

Housing Wealth and Consumption

Matteo Iacoviello


Housing wealth is about one half of household net worth, and consumption is a considerable fraction (about two thirds) of Gross Domestic Product in the United States. Empirically, movements in housing wealth are associated with movements in consumption in the same direction. This observation has led many economists, commentators and policy makers to study how housing wealth and consumption are linked together. A sizeable portion of the comovement between housing wealth and consumption reflects common factors driving both variables, rather than the "wealth effect" of the former on the latter; however, a growing body of evidence suggests that the comovement is larger in developed financial markets and in the presence of liquidity constraints.

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Keywords: Borrowing constraints, consumption, consumption function, household budget

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Last Update: July 10, 2020