DP18034 The Housing Wealth Effect: Quasi-Experimental Evidence
Empirical studies have estimated a big range of consumption response sizes to changes in house prices. Using a quasi-experiment, we estimate a shock of -19.4 percent to house prices in the area surrounding an airport in Stockholm after its operations were unexpectedly continued as a result of political bargaining behind closed doors. This source of price divergence is ideal for identifying housing wealth effects since it is local and unrelated to variations in macroeconomic conditions. Using a household data set with information on the location of primary residence relative to the airport, we find a short-run elasticity with respect to new car purchases of 0.39, corresponding to a one-year marginal propensity for car expenditures of 0.12 cents per dollar lost in housing wealth. Households with high loan-to-value ratios and little bank deposits respond the most. A quantitative model is consistent with the empirical findings and pinpoints important determinants of the response size, which may explain the variation in previous estimates.