Author(s): Narcissa Balta, Eric Ruscher, European Commission
This paper analyses the interactions between household wealth, mortgage decisions and savings in a single empirical framework and identifies an important role for a "down-payment channel" in the euro area. Contrary to the traditional housing wealth channel, the "down-payment channel" posits a positive relation between household savings and house prices: a rise in house prices forces credit-constrained households who wish to acquire a house to accumulate more savings in order to cover a higher down-payment (i.e. the share of the housing acquisition value that is not covered by a mortgage). The overall effect of a rise in house prices on private consumption can be seen as the result of two offsetting forces: a rise in house prices tends to push up consumption via the traditional housing wealth channel but it also tends to depress the consumption of credit-constrained households who wish to acquire a house via the down-payment channel. Estimates based on a structural VEC model for the euro area suggest that the down-payment effect tends to dominate in the medium term, translating into an overall negative impact of higher house prices on consumption in the euro area.
|ISBN 978-92-79-19229-6 (online)|
|doi: 10.2765/11252 (online)|
Economic Papers are written by the staff of the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, or by experts working in association with them. The Papers are intended to increase awareness of the technical work being done by staff and to seek comments and suggestions for further analysis. The views expressed are the author’s alone and do not necessarily correspond to those of the European Commission.