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12 July 2017
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2087
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Abstract
This paper presents new evidence on the impact of the preferential treatment of owner-occupied housing in Europe. We find that tax benefits to homeowners reduce the user cost of housing capital by almost 40 percent compared to the efficient level under neutral taxation. On average, the tax subsidy translates into an excess consumption of housing services equivalent to 7.8 percent of the value of owner-occupied housing, or about 30 percent of financial asset holdings in household portfolios. The bulk of the subsidies stems from under-taxation of the return to home equity, while the average contribution of the tax rebate for mortgage interest payments is driven down by relatively low loan-to-value ratios in the data. However, at the margin, the tax–induced incentive to use mortgage debt to finance the purchase of the main residence is sizable.
JEL Code
H24 : Public Economics→Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue→Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
H31 : Public Economics→Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents→Household
D14 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Household Saving; Personal Finance
Network
Household Finance and Consumption Network (HFCN)