1887

OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

House Prices and Inflation in the Euro Area

The inflation measure used by the European Central Bank excludes housing costs that are borne by home owners even though they make up more than a tenth of household final consumption expenditure in the euro area. Has the exclusion of owner-occupied housing costs driven a wedge between the official harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP) and the cost of living? To answer this question, a measure of the user cost of housing capital has been constructed for every euro area country (except Luxembourg). User costs are measured taking into account property taxes but net of tax breaks that home owners enjoy on mortgage repayments. The user cost measure is combined with the HICP to derive a “broad” inflation estimate. For the sake of comparison, an alternative estimate has been put together using imputed rents. The main conclusion is that owner-occupied housing costs have an impact. Another important conclusion is that the effect of owner-occupied housing costs on inflation varies noticeably with the method used to incorporate them into the price index. The paper finally discusses the choice of the method from the point of view of economic policy makers. "This Working Paper relates to the 2005 OECD Economic Survey of Euro Area (www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/Euroarea)"

English

Keywords: imputed rents, user cost, inflation, HICP, ECB, housing, Eurostat
JEL: E30: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics / Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles / Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles: General (includes Measurement and Data); E31: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics / Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles / Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
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