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The distribution of household wealth in Belgium: initial findings of the second wave of the Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS)

Philip Du Caju ()

Economic Review, 2016, issue ii, 27-43

Abstract: The article draws on the preliminary findings of the second wave (2014) of the Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) to analyse the structure and distribution of household wealth in Belgium, and compares these with the findings of the first wave (2010) as pertaining to Belgium. All things considered, income and wealth distribution in Belgium have remained fairly stable. A comparison of survey findings for 2010 and 2014 reveals increased investment in – and loans attracted towards – other property, in addition to households’ main residences. The survey also finds that households have shifted away from direct investment in the equity and bond markets and now have more investments in mutual funds. With such assets held almost exclusively by wealthier households, it is this particular group’s portfolio decisions that determine this overall outcome. Income from capital – i.e. interest income, dividends and rental income – came down on average in the 2010-14 period, mainly due to lower interest rates. This type of income is primarily found in the wealthiest households. Survey findings reveal increased participation and higher outstanding amounts for all types of loans. A more detailed analysis points to potential pockets of risk in the mortgage market, particularly for singleparent families and to a lesser degree also single-person households.

Keywords: household finance; wealth distribution; income distribution (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D14 D31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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