Technical Report Alternative Approaches to Housing Services and Japanese CPI: -Bias from Nominal Rigidity of Rents-

Shimizu, Chihiro  ,  Imai, Satoshi  ,  Diewert, Erwin

2016-02 , Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University
Despite the significant decrease in housing prices during the collapse of the Japanese bubble in the first half of the 1990s, housing rents hardly changed at all. Why is it that housing rents do not change? Why are housing prices and housing rents not linked? In this paper, in order to address these questions, we conducted an alternative indicators for housing services in CPI. First, we found that the annual proportion of residential units whose rent changed was no more than about 5%. This is extremely low, representing 1/20 of the figure for the U.S. and 1/6 of the figure for Germany. The underlying reason for this high degree of rigidity is the specific circumstances of the Japanese housing market, where opportunities to change rents are inherently limited due to the fact that tenant turnover is low while the duration of rental contracts is two years. Even more important, however, is the fact that rents are not changed even when opportunities to change them arise such as tenant turnover or contract renewals, thereby significantly lowering the probability of rents changing. Based on analysis using the adjustment hazard function technique proposed by Caballero and Engel (2007)[3], we found that whether or not a given unit's rent was adjusted mostly did not depend on how much its current rent diverged from the market conditions. In addition, it has been pointed out that the high depreciation rate characteristic of the Japanese market is a problem. Addressing this problem is extremely important when it comes to estimating housing rent indexes.
基盤研究(S) = Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (S)

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