25 Nov 2021

Housing and the Cost of Living

Daniel Gros / Farzaneh Shamsfakhr

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The Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), which constitutes the sole official measure of inflation in the euro area, leaves out an important part of household expenditure, namely the cost of owner-occupied housing (OOH). Most other developed economies include estimates of OOH in their consumer price index. The existing, even if imperfect, indicator available today from Eurostat should be included immediately in the HICP. It is unacceptable that Eurostat and the Commission have not been able to produce a better OOH indicator in the 18 years since the ECB first flagged the importance of housing costs in 2003.
This paper was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) ahead of the Monetary Dialogue with the ECB President on 15 November 2021.