Housing Wealth and Aggregate Saving
NBER Working Paper No. 2842
The recent appreciation in housing value can have large effects on aggregate saving. This paper uses a simulation model to show that aggregate saving will decline substantially if life cycle homeowners spend down their housing windfalls. Homeowners with a bequest motive, however, may save more to assist their children in buying the now more expensive housing. To test whether families spend their housing capital gains, I use housing, income, and consumption data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. While a cross-section time-series regression implies that housing wealth does affect saving, a fixed-effects model finds no effect.