June 2016 issue contents
How do households allocate their assets? Stylized facts from the eurosystem household finance and consumption survey

by Luc Arrondel,a Laura Bartiloro,b Pirmin Fessler,c Peter Lindner,c Thomas Y. Mathä,d Cristiana Rampazzi,b Frédérique Savignac,e Tobias Schmidt,f Martin Schürzc and Philip Vermeuleng


Using the first wave of the Eurosystem Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS), a large micro-level data set on households' balance sheets in fifteen euro-area countries, this paper explores how households allocate their assets. We derive stylized facts on asset participation as well as the portfolio shares of asset holdings and investigate the systematic relationships between household characteristics and asset holding patterns. Real assets make up the bulk of total assets. Whereas ownership of the main residence varies strongly between countries, the value of the main residence tends to be the major asset for homeowners and represents a significant part of total assets in all countries. While almost all households hold safe financial assets, a low share of households holds risky assets. The ownership rates of all asset categories generally increase with wealth (and income). The significance of inheritances for homeownership and holding of other real estate is remarkable. We tentatively link differences in asset holding patterns across countries to differences in institutions.

JEL Codes: D1, D3.

Full article (PDF, 92 pages, 886 kb)

a CNRS-PSE and Banque de France 
b Banca d'Italia 
c Oesterreichische Nationalbank 
d Banque centrale du Luxembourg 
e Banque de France 
f Deutsche Bundesbank 
g European Central Bank