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Household Debt and Aging in Japan

Charles Horioka () and Yoko Niimi ()

No 2019-12, AGI Working Paper Series from Asian Growth Research Institute

Abstract: In this paper, we analyze the borrowing behavior of Japanese households in comparison to the other Group of Seven (G7) countries and also broken down by the age group of the household head. We find that pre-retirement households (households with a head in the 50-59 age group) in Japan do not have inordinate amounts of debt and that their financial health is satisfactory. However, we also find that households with a head in the 30-39 age group have shown a sharp increase in debt holdings in recent years, due partly to the fact that tax breaks for housing purchase, reforms in the housing loan market since the early 2000s, and expansionary monetary policy enabled Japanese households to purchase housing at a younger age than they could previously. We therefore need to monitor the borrowing behavior of this cohort over time as the Bank of Japan normalizes its monetary policy, especially since households have become more vulnerable to rising interest rates as the share of households who have chosen variablerate housing loans has increased in recent years.

Keywords: aging; borrowing; debt; homeownership; households; housing; Japan; liabilities; loans; mortgages; retirement; D14; E21; G51; J14; R21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-age and nep-mac
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