How do Housing Wealth, Financial Wealth and Consumption Interact?

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Emmanuel De Veirman; Ashley Dunstan
This paper characterises the relationship between wealth and consumption in New Zealand. We find that there exists a long-run cointegration relation between household consumption, income, housing wealth and net financial wealth. Permanent shocks account for most of the variation in wealth. This implies that our cointegration estimates accurately capture the effect of most wealth changes, in contrast with the findings of Lettau and Ludvigson (2004) for the United States. Our estimates suggest that consumption has adjusted sluggishly to restore longrun equilibrium, but also that consumption booms have anticipated equilibrium-restoring increases in housing wealth. Furthermore, we estimate two alternative econometric models which are more robust to instability in the long-run relationship. All three of our models suggest that permanent changes in wealth have economically important effects on consumption. The dollar-for dollar- effect of financial wealth exceeds that of housing wealth.