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Safe as houses? The uneven integration of housing, mortgage and financial markets

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The steady integration of housing, mortgage and financial markets is a hallmark of the modern economy. The prevailing wisdom, boosted by the credit crisis of 2007-8, is that this has already gone too far; that processes tying households accounts into global finance could, and should, be unravelled. This paper considers a different view: that the integration of housing and financial markets has, in some important senses, not gone far enough. Certainly the encounter is lop-sided, focussing as it does on the credit/debt rather than investment/equity side of the housing equation. That is, the main link between housing and financial markets to date has been via the securitisation of lending and incorporation of mortgage backed securities into complex credit derivatives. But there is already a concerted attempt to redress the imbalance, by creating a market for housing (asset) derivatives. This paper asks what could be achieved for housing policy and provision if this ‘synthetic’ housing market succeeds; it also considers what might be lost if it fails.

This talk is part of the Land Economy Seminar Series series.

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