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Game of Homes: The Financialisation of Housing

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Seminar co-hosted by Development Studies and the Infrastructural Geography TRG

A global wall of money is looking for High-Quality Collateral (HQC) investments, and housing is one of the few asset classes considered HQC . This explains why housing is increasingly becoming financialised, but it does not explain its timing, politics and geography. Examples from the UK, the US, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Spain illustrate not only the emergence and commonalities of housing financialisation but also the continued relevance of national as well as local histories and institutions. Due to the financialisation of housing, housing risks are increasingly financial market risks these days—and vice versa. Yet, the relations between housing and financialisation remain under-researched and under-theorised. Since the 1970s, mortgage markets have been transformed from a “facilitating market” for homeowners in need of credit to one increasingly facilitating global investment. Likewise, subsidised rental housing has become exposed to global financial markets through the use of social housing bonds and financial derivatives as well as through the rise of corporate landlords such as private equity firms and real estate firms listed at the stock exchange.

Manuel B. Aalbers is a human geographer, sociologist, urban planner and associate professor of Human Geography at KU Leuven (University of Leuven) in Belgium. He is the coordinator of the Real Estate/Financial Complex research project on the intersection of real estate (including housing), finance and states. Manuel has published on redlining, social and financial exclusion, neighbourhood change (including decline and gentrification), the privatisation of social housing and the Anglophone hegemony in academia. He is the author of “The Financialisation of Housing: A political economy approach” (Routledge, 2016) “Place, Exclusion, and Mortgage Markets” (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011) and the editor of “Subprime Cities: The Political Economy of Mortgage Markets” (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012). He is also the associate editor of the “Encyclopedia of Urban Studies” (Sage, 2010) and of geography journal TESG . He also sits on the board of the journals Urban Studies, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Belgeo, Tijdschrift voor de Volkshuisvesting and Geografie.

This talk is part of the Infrastructural Geographies - Department of Geography series.

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