Since the beginnings of the eighties house prices in the Netherlands haveincreased steadily and considerably. In this paper we study the effect of this developmenton the demand for second mortgages and on the savings of Dutch households. We use the dataof the Dutch socio-economic panel for the years 1987-1994. These data contain self-reportedvalues of the houses of owner- occupiers, which are shown to correspond to the median salesprices provided by the Dutch Association of Realtors. Households therefore seem to be wellaware of the increase in the value of their house. We use panel data methods to investigatethe effect of house prices on (i) the number and size of second mortgages, (ii) the savingsof owner-occupiers and (iii) the savings of renters that may be considered as would-beowners. We find a significant effect of home equity on the demand for second mortgages.Savings of homeowners decrease when house prices accelerate. We find no evidence that inc!reased demand for mortgage loans is caused by substitution from other forms of consumercredit. Contrary to results reported in the literature, we find no evidence of an increasein savings of would-be owners caused by higher house prices.
House Prices Mortgages Savings Consumption Panel Data.