Portfolio choice with indivisible and illiquid housing assets: the case of Spain Articles uri icon

publication date

  • November 2014

start page

  • 2045

end page

  • 2064


  • 11


  • 14

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1469-7688

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-7696


  • This paper studies the investment decisions of Spanish households using a unique data-set, the Spanish Survey of Household Finance (EFF). We propose a theoretical model in which households, given a fixed investment in housing, allocate their net wealth across bank time deposits, stocks and mortgage. Besides considering housing as an indivisible and illiquid asset that restricts the portfolio choice decision, we take into account the financial constraints that households face when they apply for external funding. For every representative household in the EFF, we solve this theoretical problem and obtain the theoretically optimal portfolio that is then compared with households' actual choices. We find that households significantly under-invest in stocks and deposits while the optimal and actual mortgage investments agree. Considering the three types of financial assets at once, we find that the households headed by highly financially sophisticated, older, retired, richer, and unconstrained persons are the ones investing more efficiently.


  • households; over-investment; financial constraints; indivisible illiquid assets; portfolio choice; under-investment; g11; d14; c61; life-cycle; consumption; investment; decisions; returns; markets