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Return to home equity

Top codes:

1992 and on: 17405 (return of $17405 or more).


HOUSRET reports the measure of imputed rent for an owned home using a return to home equity approach.

In an effort to include housing-related items in the measure of household income, the Census estimates an imputed value of rent to provide the value of the services provided by a household's residence after accounting for interest paid on mortgages and property taxes.

The Census Bureau estimates the return to home equity based on imputed values from the American Housing Survey and a municipal bond rate. The CPS ASEC housing tenure question (IPUMS-CPS variable OWNERSHP) determines the universe for the return on equity computation. It should be noted that the term "return to home equity" is misleading in that it typically is a percentage reflecting the ratio of net income to home equity. The CPS, however, provides a measure that is dollar value of the yearly return to home equity using high yield municipal bonds.

The construction of HOUSRET is as follows. First, only dwellings in the CPS where the householder is the owner are eligible for the data imputation. Second, using the common variables of householder's age, number of people in household, total household income, and location variables (i.e. statistical area, state, central city indicator, or region), a donor record from AHS is matched with each CPS homeowner. Once the match is made, the CPS dwelling is appended to include home values, land values, property taxes and housing debt from the donor record. Then home equity is calculated by taking the reported value of the house and property and subtracting the remaining home debt. The final value of "return to home equity" is then calculated by multiplying home equity by the annual Standard and Poor high-grade municipal bond yield and subtracting property taxes. For a more detailed discussion, see Short, O'Hara and Susin (2007), "Taking Account of Housing in Measures of Household Income.".

The data for HOUSRET in the 2004 ASEC is erroneously set to zero for all observation in all publicly-available files. IPUMS-CPS has received the corrected data from the Census Bureau.

Amounts for HOUSRET are expressed in dollars of the given year, rather than in constant dollars adjusted for inflation. Users can adjust for inflation using Consumer Price Index adjustment factors.


Apart from the effects of inflation, HOUSRET is largely comparable across years.


  • All households.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1992 – 2017 - - X - - - - - - - - -


This variable has no flags.